Guyana - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Long-awaited Telecommunications Bill set before the National Assembly
The only English-speaking nation in South America, Guyana has a small population with among the lowest GDP rates in the region. Nevertheless, GDP growth has been impressive in recent years and economic growth projections further into 2016 are encouraging.
Guyana's fixed-line teledensity is above average for Latin America and much higher than would be expected given the country's poor economic indicators. Mobile and broadband penetration, however, are well below the regional average.
Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T, rebranded as GTT+ in late 2015), controlled by Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN), has a monopoly over fixed-line services, but it competes with Digicel in the mobile market.
GTT+'s fixed-line monopoly was renewed for 20 years in December 2010, but before renewing it the government drafted a new Telecommunications Amendment Bill aimed at opening the telecom sector to competition. The bill was abandoned in September 2011 shortly before the national elections, but is again to be put before the National Assembly, this time benefiting from inputs from both GTT and Digicel. It includes provisions to fund a Universal Services Fund through a tax on telcos' revenue.
Although GTT+'s exclusivity does not extend to the broadband retail market, the company is the only DSL operator. The only effective competition comes from fixed-wireless broadband providers.
Fixed broadband services have improved, especially since the opening of the SG-SCS submarine cable in mid-2010, but they are still comparatively slow and expensive, and the number of broadband subscribers is small. The submarine cable being proposed by Digicel would provide a second link to international cable infrastructure in the region, and would go far in reducing consumer pricing.
In the mobile sector, GTT+'s mobile unit, Cellink, competes with Digicel Guyana for market share. Both companies operate GSM/GPRS networks. The Telecommunications Bill promises considerable changes in the sector, with licences anticipated to be issued to GTT and Digicel for them to be able to offer 3G and 4G services for the first time.
Government announces plans to issue licences for 4G' services; Telecommunications Bill set to be debated by the National Assembly; Government commissions Dax Engineering to fix national fibre backbone network; State sells its 20% stake in GTT+ to Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group, a Chinese state-owned company; GTT+ blocks internet access for cybercafés that use third party applications for VoIP services; iNet launches satellite broadband service offering data at up to 6Mb/s; Digicel Guyana asks for permits to land its own cable in Guyana; E-Networks signs agreement to use O3b's Fiber in the Sky satellite network;