More Caribbean Telecom News – Court forces TSTT to answer the call for Digicel

Bajan Reporter has not heard from Anthony Gunn since late January, now he’s back and not with tourism news – but telecommunications info, it seems interconnectivity issues in Hummingbird-Ville are finally being more open, but it literally took for the law to be handed down! According to Gunn, this is what the Trinidad Express had to say –

STATE-OWNED telecoms provider Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) suffered a second defeat yesterday in court as it was ordered again to supply its rival mobile competitor, Digicel, with sufficient circuits to ensure inter- connection between the two networks.
Digicel has requested some 437 additional circuits but TSTT complains that it cannot accede to the request since to do so could result in the collapse of all circuits and an estimated annual loss of $198 million.

Legal sources say it is now open for Digicel to file contempt proceedings against TSTT executives for failing to comply with the court orders, or TSTT could seek to take its case to the Privy Council in London to obtain the necessary injunctions.

On February 15, Justice Nolan Bereaux ordered TSTT to desist from blocking Digicel’s calls, provide Digicel with the additional circuits and allow an inspection of their database under the supervision of a Telecommunications Authority representative to determine if Digicel’s calls were being deliberately blocked.

TSTT had appealed against the later two rulings and Justice of Appeal Stanley John heard legal arguments, over several days, on the issue.

He ruled against TSTT yesterday and directed both sides to file their respective arguments by May 8, in anticipation of an expeditious hearing of the appeal by the third week of May.

Digicel had taken TSTT to court, alleging that its mobile calls were being deliberately blocked on TSTT’s network and Bereaux found that Digicel had a strong case against TSTT.

The judge also found that Digicel had an arguable case on claims that it was discriminated against by acts of unfair treatment by TSTT, which once held the monopoly on telephone services in this country.

As a result of the ruling, TSTT has to allow Digicel calls to flow freely through its network, to both land and mobile customers, by repairing its equipment and removing any restrictions which block Digicel‘s calls.

What I want to know is – what became of Laqtel? This was Arthur Lok-Jack‘s CDMA venture that was gonna rip up not just Trinbago but the whole region… A look over at UK’s Cellular News shows they’re still looking for money – a very similar story for the mobile non-contender Sunbeach here in Barbados

Laqtel won a license to operate in T&T in June 2005 along with Caribbean mobile operator Digicel after the market was opened up to foreign companies to compete with incumbent telco TSTT.

Previously the company told the local paper it would launch in March 2007, but now says the company is still waiting on additional funds and has invested US$38.4mn to date.

[Founder Dr. Joseph] Laquis now said that it plans to have the company fully funded by mid-April and that it has found three additional foreign investors after coming up short at home.

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