March 21, 2017
ASSURANCES GIVEN: GOVERNMENT AND DIGICEL COMMIT TO INVESTMENT IN TT AND OPEN MARKET
No decision has yet been taken on the restructuring of Digicel and what it would mean for Trinidad and Tobago. This was revealed by Digicel Trinidad and Tobago CEO John Delves at a meeting with the Minister of Public Administration and Communications, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie.
Minister Cuffie also took the opportunity to reassure all stakeholders that Trinidad and Tobago remains committed to an “open and free market in the telecommunications industry”, in keeping with this country’s obligations to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Telecommunications Act (2001).
In February, it was reported that Digicel would be adopting a new organizational structure, with centralized regional hubs consisting of two in the Caribbean region, and two in the Pacific region.
Mr. Delves advised that talks on this restructuring are ongoing at an international level, and a decision is yet to be made as to the location of the Caribbean hubs. The reorganization is part of a wider Digicel 2030 plan which also includes enhancing their digital platforms and services, as well as the rollout of full LTE capabilities for a better customer experience.
Delves said Digicel remains committed to its investment in the country and to delivering the best possible service to its customers here.
Minister Cuffie expressed the hope that Digicel would consider Trinidad and Tobago as a possible location for one of its Caribbean hubs. He noted that such a decision will lead to job creation and boost the economy.
He said that he can “only trust that any reorganizing would not affect Trinidad and Tobago particularly hard,” and in this spirit, assured that Government “will continue to work with Digicel and all other telecoms partners.”
In addressing Digicel’s concerns about perceptions of an anti-competitive environment in the local telecommunications industry, Minister Cuffie was firm in his reiteration that telecommunications operates under the framework of the ITU.
He said the government has “drafted legislation in keeping with those commitments for liberalization, transparency and open access, and we have been consistent in our application of such”. This can be placed, he said, in the context of the revised Public Procurement Act which will be fully proclaimed at at the end of this month.
Mr. Delves expressed pride in Digicel’s developments in TT, not only in terms of infrastructure, but its strong presence as a “good corporate citizen” through the work of the Digicel Foundation. In response, the Minister urged the company to “keep investing, [and] keep your commitments to Trinidad and Tobago.”
The meeting was held at the Minister’s office on Tuesday 21 March, 2017.