Laqtel’s concession to provide mobile services in Trinidad and Tobago terminated

Laqtel’s concession to operate a “public domestic mobile telecommunications network” in Trinidad and Tobago was terminated by the Ministry of Public Administration following the recommendation to terminate by the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT).

Laqtel was granted a concession to operate on December 30th, 2005. However, Laqtel and its main partner, Saskatchewan Telecommunications International (Sasktel) parted ways in March 2006 . In late May 2006, Laqtel and TSTT announced that they has signed a interconnection agreement . In June 2006, it was reported that Laqtel intended to partner with the Paltel, a Palestinian based telecommunications company. However, Paltel and Laqtel parted ways in November 2006.

In December 2006, Laqtel announced that they were hoping to launch in time for the March 2007 Cricket World Cup (being held in the West Indies) and a technology/equipment alliance with Sprint Nextel. This did not happen, amid continuing financial difficulties and warnings from TATT in July 2007 that Laqtel risked losing its concession.

Since the award of Laqtel’s concession in December 31st, 2005, Laqtel failed to pay a $4,000,000 TT performance bond to TATT and failed to launch before 30th June 2006 as the concession stipulated. TATT sued Laqtel in September 2007 for its failure to pay the performance bond. Laqtel plead guility, and its attorney argued that the magistrate consider the circumstances Laqtel found themselves in, in considering sentencing.

The magistrate sentenced Laqtel to pay additional fines in November 2007 until the performance bond was paid.

The Minister of Public Administration revoked Laqtel’s concession on March 14th, 2008 ; TATT also seized several of Laqtel’s assets to collect funds owned from the performance bond and court fines. You can read more details from TATT’s press release about the termination of Laqtel’s concession to operate a mobile network in Trinidad and Tobago (PDF ; 34K).

Laqtel isn’t giving up ; it has asked the Minister of Public Administration to reconsider the termination of Laqtel’s concession.