|Guyana Telecommunications Research|
Guyana - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
Guyana is liberalising its telecom market
Guyana, a small country with about 770,000 inhabitants, is the only English-speaking nation in South America. It has closer affinities with the Caribbean than with its continental neighbours. Its GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the region, but growing.
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 penetration is slightly below average. Broadband uptake, however, is far behind other countries in the region.
The incumbent Guyana Telephone and Telegraph, controlled by Atlantic Tele-Network, held an exclusive fixed-line licence which expired in December 2010. To liberalise the market, the government drafted a Telecommunications Amendment Bill and submitted it in October 2010 to existing telcos for their comments. The new telecom bill addresses not only the termination of Guyana Telephone and Telegraph's voice and data services monopoly, but also issues relating to spectrum management, rates, interconnection, access, competition, and consumer protection.
Guyana Telephone and Telegraph's exclusivity did not extend to the broadband retail market, but the company has exercised a stranglehold on wholesale services, as it considered Guyana's connection to the internet to be an aspect of international connectivity for which it had exclusivity under its licence.
Internet access has also suffered from severe bandwidth shortage. Services have improved since the completion of the Suriname-Guyana Submarine Cable System, which became operational in May 2010. Previously, damage to the Americas II submarine cable frequently disrupted access, taking up to several days for repairs. Still, broadband remains comparatively slow and expensive, and the number of broadband subscribers is small.
Guyana Telephone and Telegraph is the only DSL provider, though a couple of ISPs resell its DSL service. The only competition comes from fixed-wireless broadband providers. Mobile companies have not yet launched mobile broadband in Guyana and therefore that option remains unavailable.
E-Networks, an up-and-coming company, launched a WiMAX network in December 2010, positioning itself as the country's first and only triple player, with a portfolio that includes digital TV, VoIP, and broadband.
In the mobile sector, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph's mobile unit, Cellink, competes neck-and-neck with Digicel Guyana for market share. Both companies operate GSM/GPRS networks. While 3G UMTS services have been launched throughout most of Latin America, in Guyana neither Cellink nor Digicel have announced plans to roll out 3G services.
When finalised, the new Telecommunications Amendment Bill will be sent to the National Assembly for approval, paving the way for full telecom liberalisation in Guyana.
The Guyanese government has been looking to sell its 20% stake in Guyana Telephone and Telegraph.
The government is keen to develop the country's ICT sector; for this purpose, it has ambitious plans, including the provision of laptops to families across the country and the deployment of a nationwide WiMAX network.
With the prospective opening of the telecom sector, new laws to encourage competition, and the push for ICT development, this may be a good time for investors to lay their business foundation in Guyana's small but promising market.Guyana - key telecom parameters - 2009 - 2010
Total number of subscribers147,000151,000
Total number of subscribers6,6009,000
Mobile telephony subscribers
Total number of subscribers567,200600,000
Mobile penetration rate73.8%77.7%
This report provides an overview of trends and developments in Guyana's telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:
Market and industry overviews;
Broadband market.Lucia Bibolini
Last Update: 8 Apr 2011 Number of Pages: 24
Single User: USD $375.00 ex-GST View Table of Contents