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Reply to "Digicel urges gov’t to free up spectrum"

Gov’t and Digicel have amicably resolved issues – Attorney General - lawsuits dropped

Attorney General Anil Nandlall SC yesterday said that the Guyana Government and Digicel have amicably resolved their issues and lawsuits that had been filed by both have been discontinued.

“The parties have amicably resolved the matters of controversy which led to the various litigations…Both sides have been discontinued,” Nandlall told  Stabroek News when asked for an update.

Digicel had first taken government to court over spectrum distribution and its actions were followed by government this month notifying that it was suing the company for what it said was its unauthorised use of the spectrum in breach of the Telecommunications Act.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips, who has responsibility for the telecoms sector had also filed criminal charges against Gregory Dean, Chief Executive Officer of Digicel, over its alleged unauthorised use of the spectrum.

Dean had been summoned to appear in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on Friday to answer to more than a dozen charges relating to spectrum management.

On Thursday, Digicel’s representatives had told this newspaper that the company’s case against government had been discontinued.

It would appear that both sides came to an agreement which includes discontinuing their respective court matters.

In a fixed-date application (FDA) against U-Mobile, which operates as Digicel Guyana, the Attorney General and the Tele-communications Agency (the Applicants), had been seeking a declaration that Digicel, (the Respondent) is unlawfully using spectrum in the 700 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands, and is in breach of the Telecommunications Act and the Telecommunications (Spectrum Management) Regulations.

The Applicants were also seeking a declaration that Digicel’s use of the 700 MHz frequency band overlaps and is causing interference, including harmful interference, with the assigned frequencies and operations of other licensed telecommunications operators.

The Applicants had contended that Digicel has been unjustly enriched “from its unlawful use of spectrum,” and were asking the Court to so declare. They wanted an order disgorging all revenue and profits earned by the Company.

Against this background, the Attorney General had asked the High Court to grant a permanent injunction restraining the cellphone company and its agents from using, transmitting or otherwise accessing both the 700 and 1800 MHz spectrum, without first obtaining the frequency authorisations and permissions that are required by the Act and Regulations.

In the circumstances, the State had sought damages no less than $100,000 together with exemplary damages in the same amount; but was asking that an assessment hearing be held to determine the full quantum to be awarded together with interest.

It is unclear what would be the current terms of operations for the telecommunications provider as no details of the agreement have been made public.