Telecom Authority of Trinidad & Tobago CEO expects revenues >$30 million US a year from equitable spectrum licensing of 700Mhz band to 3 providers for 4G/LTE services

TATT CEO, Dr. John Prince speaking on CNC3 Money Matters, March 9 2017

On CNC3 Money Matters, Anthony Wilson interviewed the CEO of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT), Dr. John Prince.

Here’s a summary of what was said by the TATT CEO:

  • Prior to his becoming CEO in December 2016, there was arrangement of having a third new provider and Digicel having access to the 700Mhz Spectrum, which is very important for 4G/LTE services.
  • However, Dr. John Prince holds strong views and now the TATT Board holds the same view, that if we have three providers, we can’t give access to the 700Mhz Spectrum to two providers only, and leave “the only company out that belongs to the people of Trinidad and Tobago” (TSTT)
  • There are 45MHz available in the 700Mhz band, and the best and fairest means to make sure equanimity in the telecommunications environment is to give
    each provider 15Mhz each so that all three providers can do 4G/LTE on an equitable basis.
  • In response to a question from the host Anthony Wilson about how TSTT is rolling out 4G/LTE, Dr John Prince said that TSTT is rolling it out in the spectrum they have (850Mhz and 1900Mhz), but the lower spectrum (the 700Mhz band) is better, less cell sites are needed for coverage due to the longer attenuation from the 700Mhz band compared to the shorter attenuation from the higher bands.
  •  Would TSTT have a first mover advantage? No, not really due to the coverage issue.
  • How soon would you make an award of spectrum? TSTT has some activities (probably TV) in the 700Mhz band – as soon as we get that migration plan, and the expertise coming in here, we can begin to award spectrum in the 700Mhz band to providers.
  • Is the regulator selling the spectrum? We rent or license the spectrum for a certain period of time, because “the spectrum is owned by the people of Trinidad and Tobago, like oil…we can’t give you..we have to make sure that we earn revenue to go into the coffers of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.”
  • How much revenue from licensing spectrum? $30 million US a year
  • Has Digicel communicated with you in terms of how many persons it intends to lay off in Trinidad and Tobago? Prince said John Delves, Digicel CEO of Trinidad and Tobago, did want to meet with him before he went to Barcelona, but that didn’t happen. He hoped that John will still be willing to meet with him because “the word “retrenchment” is not an economic savvy word”. He wants to ask John Delves “Is Digicel making money in Trinidad and Tobago? Now if you are making money in Trinidad and Tobago, what is the purpose..the use of retrenchment? Who is it benefiting? You are here…Digicel came here and they got everything…we made the playing field level…Anthony, you were there up and down with us when we were looking at interconnection and all these sort of things. We did…this Authority bent backwards to help Digicel become a player in this market and I think it would be an injustice to the telecommunications authority of Trinidad and Tobago for Digicel to retrench 25…15%..10% whatever people without having proper dialogue with the telecommunications authority of Trinidad and Tobago

You can watch the 8 minute interview with TATT’s CEO on CNC3’s website.