“This third mobile service provider will boost competition and yield to the consumer, greater affordability, wider choice and faster speeds among other benefits,” Griffith said. Meanwhile, for the third consecutive year, TT has been ranked number one for mobile coverage out of 143 countries by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on global information technology.
However, based on 53 indicators in terms of preparedness of countries to leverage the network economy, TT was ranked 70 in 2015, down from 71 in 2014 and 72 in 2013.
Griffith made these revelations as he delivered the feature address at the national release of results of the WEF Global Information Technology Report 2015 at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (GSB) in Mount Hope.
He told Newsday the potential third service provider was recommended based on an evaluation of service providers who responded to a TATT Request For Proposal (RFP). “Very soon our service would have a third mobile service operator introduced,” Griffith said.
Noting that connectivity and mobile penetration leads to economic growth, the minister said that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) believes that for every ten percent increase in penetration, a country’s GDP (gross domestic product) will be positively impacted by 0.8 percent.
Mobile penetration in TT in 2014, he said, stood at 149 percent, up from 146 percent in 2013.
“This is one of the highest percentage in the world. It exceeds the developed world’s average of 128 percent and far exceeds the developing world’s which averages 89 percent,” he said.
“Being ranked number one in mobile coverage,” he said, “is not easy. Trust me.” Domestic fixed broadband penetration rose from 54 percent to 58 percent over the last year, he said adding that Government expects fixed broadband coverage to reach 98 percent of TT by 2018.
This projection was based on revenue from the local telecommunication broadcasting sector which, he said, increased by 12.6 percent for the 2011/2012 period and four percent over the 2012/2013 period. “This translates into about TT$5.3 billion or 3.3 percent of the GDP for 2012, and $5.5 billion or 3.1 percent of GDP for 2013,” he said.
Government has recognised the social and economic benefits to be derived from connectivity, he said, and has formulated a national broad band plan which deals specifically with the broadband infrastructure to stimulate inter-mobile competition in the delivery of broadband services.
Apart from being the number one country in the world with mobile coverage, Griffith said, TT has one of the most competitive rates in the Caribbean.
The mobile sector, he said, started out with a virtual monopoly, moved to two, and will now move to three.