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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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TATT takes on TSTT: We are fair, transparent

TSTT CEO Dr Ronald Walcott -
TSTT CEO Dr Ronald Walcott -

The Telecommunications Authority of TT (TATT) on Friday said it regulates the national spectrum in a “fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner” and “offers spectrum that can be made available to the operators for the provision of public telecommunications and broadcasting services.”

This comes after TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott recently said he had a concern about the way in which TATT regulates its business when asked about whether or not TATT can deal with spectrum for 5G when it was unable to award 4G spectrum for years. Walcott said TSTT was always challenging some of the decision-making around spectrum. His comments were made at the launch of TSTT’s 5G fixed wireless access service, on Monday, in partnership with Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei.

Spectrum, according to gsma.com, “relates to the radio frequencies allocated to the mobile industry and other sectors for communication over the airwaves.”

In a release to media, TATT said Walcott’s concern with its decision-making, affected both Digicel and TSTT.

It added that in October 17 the authority received a request from TSTT for more spectrum, with which TSTT launched its 5G fixed wireless

“TATT considered this request as it would any other request received from an operator. TATT informed TSTT that its request for more spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band could not be approved because TSTT already has the maximum amount of spectrum (50 MHz) that can be assigned to an operator,” the release said.

In the release, the authority said the maximum amount of spectrum per operator (50 MHz) is an established rule in the Spectrum Plan for the Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access Services.

TATT said in February it considered a request from Digicel for temporary use of mobile spectrum in the 850 MHz band but that was also turned down.

“TATT solicited comments from all stakeholders on the request made via a public notice. After due consideration of comments received, TATT decided not to approve this temporary assignment of spectrum, noting also that Digicel already has the maximum amount of spectrum that can be assigned to an operator in the 850 MHz band,” the release said.

Addressing Walcott’s concerns about making the right spectrum available, the authority said it was unable to assign the preferred spectrum in the 700 MHz to both Digicel and TSTT as “TSTT currently operates a wireless pay TV service in that band.”

The authority said it had been in discussions with TSTT since the start of 2017 to migrate its wireless pay TV service to a “different suitable spectrum” but failed to reach an agreement with TSTT.

“TATT was left with no other choice but to notify TSTT that its 700 MHz licence used to provide the wireless pay TV service will not be renewed upon expiration on February 4, 2020,” the release said.

In April, TATT offered new spectrum on new bands for the provision of advanced mobile broadband wireless services to both TSTT and Digicel but only Digicel accepted, applied for it and was awarded the spectrum.

In September, TSTT agreed to migrate from the 700 MHz band and this process should be completed by February next year, the release said. TATT added it would then be able to offer the preferred spectrum to both Digicel and TSTT.

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