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… litigation not from our corner – CEOBy Gary EleazarIn any market, whether Stabroek Market or the New York Stock Exchange, there are certain key factors that are critical to the industry such as supply and demand. Also among them are competition and regulation.There have been two pieces of legislation sitting in the National Assembly for several months now, and each time they come up for debate, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who would represent government’s interest in the House when it comes to the telecommunications sector, would request a deferral.CEO of Digicel Guyana, Gregory DeanThese deferrals from all indications seem to be taking their toll, as this past week, during an exclusive in interview with this publication, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Digicel Guyana, Gregory Dean, spoke of his company’s desire to have the legislation approved in Parliament and assented to by the President sooner rather than later.“The key thing for us, we would like the see the legislation passed in Parliament,” said Dean even as he pointed out that his biggest competition, GT&T, has also indicated its desire to see a liberalized market “where everyone has certainty in their investments”.According to Dean, when government decided to go to a negotiation process surrounding the liberalization of the telecommunications sector,China Jerseys Wholesale, “we had obvious concerns about deadlines.”Nonetheless the company participated, and according to Dean, he is currently uncertain about the holdup, reiterating that “we are now looking forward to the next stage in terms of Parliament and how the Bill progresses through Parliament…we welcome government saying that it will go back to Parliament sooner rather than later.”Dean says he is confident that in a liberalized market the beneficiaries would be the Guyanese populace and businesses, adding that his company wants to evolve from merely a mobile service provider to that of a full-fledged player in the telecommunication sector.He says that the company wants to get involved in providing internet services as well as fixed line services, among others, but this is being held up by the licence to be issued under the revised legislation.“While we would have preferred not to have this long period of negotiations, we respected government’s wish and participated.”Dean concedes that while the company would not have had formal talks with the combined opposition on the need to have the legislation approved, he is confident that they are cognizant of the benefits of a liberalized sector.On each occasion that the Prime Minister has asked for the Bill to be deferred to facilitate further consultations, he has indicated that this is to avoid litigation.Dean says that this threat of litigation is not from his company in any way.In fact,NBA Jerseys China, Dean says,Cheap Jerseys For Wholesale, “we don’t see any potential litigation from either party, I can only speak for Digicel and we have no intention to pursue any litigation.”The CEO says that the company has always pointed out that there will never be perfect legislation and it was quite happy with the previous legislation going through parliament in 2012.”He believes that there should not be heavy-handed legislation where the industry is heavily regulated.Dean is advocating for a learning phase or a period of time for the sector to flourish in competition. This, he says,Wholesale China Jerseys, would allow the regulators and stakeholders in the sector to identify and weigh the pros and cons of competition and make changes where necessary.He says that in any market that has been liberalized there have been clear benefits and “we don’t see Guyana being any different.”According to Dean, any data user on mobile phones that would have had an experience to use networks overseas would immediately glean one of the significant benefits of a liberalized market.With its new licence in hand,NFL Jerseys China, Digicel would be moving away from its current ‘EDGE’ network and lean towards a 4G or LTE network, which would be several times faster and allow for the use of more functions on smartphones and other telecommunication devices.“We want to go beyond the EDGE networks…It’s an open secret that Digicel wants to go beyond just mobile, we want to be a full communications player.”Asked about the LTE network being established by Government and the fact that it may have to compete, Dean concedes that no business would want to compete with a government,NFL Jerseys Outlet, and accepts that it cannot pick and choose who its competition would be.“I suppose as a business no one wants to compete with the government, but that’s the situation, and we are happy to take up the challenge. If it’s not the government it would be somebody else.”He says this is why it is even more critical for there to be a liberalization of the market with clear legislation that would provide a level playing field.Dean warns also that the legislation to be put in place cannot be cast in stone but has to be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the sector including the evolving technology.
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