Friday 3 April, 2020

TATT responds to TSTT CEO's comments on spectrum allocation

The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has defended its regulation of the national spectrum resources.

This, as TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott at the company’s 5G launch on Wednesday, suggested that TSTT could not roll out its 5G mobile network as planned because it was not granted the right spectrum or the right amount of spectrum by TATT.

TATT, in response, defended its actions, saying that it carries out its responsibilities in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

Regarding Walcott’s suggestion on the amount of spectrum assigned, TATT said a request from TSTT for more spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band could not be approved as the company already has the maximum amount of spectrum (50 MHz) that can be assigned to an operator.

The maximum amount of spectrum per operator of 50 MHz is established as a rule in the Spectrum Plan for the Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access Services, TATT said.  

On Walcott’s suggestion that the right spectrum was not made available, TATT explained that in the 700 MHz band it is currently unable to assign the preferred spectrum to both TSTT and Digicel, as TSTT currently operates a wireless pay TV service in that band.

While discussions have been ongoing with TSTT since early 2017 to migrate the service to different suitable spectrum, TATT said no agreement was reached.   

But, the Authority said it will be able to offer the preferred 700 MHz spectrum to both mobile operators come 2020, as TSTT agreed to migrate from the 700 MHz band. 

Below is the full statement from TATT: 

The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) notes the statements made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (TSTT) at its 5G launch on Wednesday 4th December, as reported in at least one daily newspaper on Thursday 5th December 2019.

Similar statements were also made at a recent conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad and Tobago.  

TATT wishes to inform all stakeholders that it has and continues to regulate the national spectrum resources 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.  

In relation to TSTT CEO’s concern with TATT’s decision making, reference is made to a recent matter considered and decisions made, which impact both mobile operators.  

In October 2017, TATT received a request from TSTT for more spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band, with which it has launched its 5G fixed wireless access services. 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 maximum amount of spectrum per operator of 50 MHz is established as a rule in the Spectrum Plan for the Accommodation of Broadband Wireless Access Services, which can be found on TATT’s website.  

In February 2019 TATT considered a request from Digicel for temporary use of mobile spectrum in the 850 MHz band.

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.  

In relation to TSTT CEO’s reference to making the right spectrum available, TATT is unable to assign the preferred spectrum in the 700 MHz band to both mobile operators as TSTT currently operates a wireless pay TV service in that band.

TATT has been in discussions with TSTT since the beginning of 2017 to migrate this service to different suitable spectrum, but failed to reach 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 04, 2020.   

In April 2019, recognizing that 700 MHz spectrum was not yet available, TATT offered new spectrum in the 1.7 GHz paired with 2.1 GHz bands for the provision of advanced mobile broadband services to both mobile operators, only the other operator accepted this offer, applied for and was awarded spectrum accordingly. 

In September 2019 TSTT finally agreed to migrate from the 700 MHz band and this process is underway to be completed by February 04, 2020.

TATT will then be able to offer the preferred 700 MHz spectrum to both mobile operators.  

TATT will continue to serve in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner and commits to being responsive to the needs of all stakeholders.

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