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GTA TeleGuam to invest another US$10 million

Guam’s communications network will see improvements costing US$10 million this year. The aim is to set the stage for more competition in wireless, digital TV and broadband.

GTA TeleGuam plans to invest about US$10 million during 2010 on its integrated communications network in Guam. This is to better position itself for more intensive competition against the larger, entrenched competitive providers on the island. GTA TeleGuam describes itself as “the only communications carrier that is legally required to share its network with competitors. This inhibits GTA TeleGuam from being more aggressive in other growth areas.”

The plan is for substantial investments in order to expand its 3G wireless coverage and capabilities as well as its reach with Guam Digital Television (GUdTV). GTA TeleGuam was a late entrant and thus is now the challenger in these growing telecom market segments because of government restrictions before its privatisation in 2005. This date is key because, to reposition itself from a government-run local telephone company to a competitive integrated communications provider, the new investments are on top of nearly US$75 million the company has invested over the last five years.

“In addition to a 100%, typhoon-proven basic telephone service, GTA TeleGuam now competes in wireless, digital television and high-speed Internet access,” said Rolando S Certeza, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for GTA TeleGuam. “These areas are all new to us...GTA TeleGuam has been playing catch-up to larger competitors in the fastest growing communications market segments...By continuing to make smart investments in our network, GTA TeleGuam will continue to lead the introduction of innovative and affordable communications products and services that customers expect today.

“As an underdog, we continue to challenge our competitors by being first to deliver the best products and services at competitive prices...Right now, we are the number-three cellular company and the number-two pay television provider in terms of customers but our speed and nimbleness in serving our customers is fueling our competitive growth and success.”

GTA TeleGuam was the first carrier to bring both the BlackBerry and iPhone to Guam. Its wireless market share has increased from about 2% five years ago to more than 20% in 2009. The company also introduced competition in the pay TV market segment with its 100% digital television service called GUdTV. In its first year, the company quickly attracted more than 10% of television households with its superior picture quality and flexible packaging.

Roland Certeza spoke, in addition, on the power of economic forces: “Competition forces companies to improve or die...Consumers benefit from competition through improved service, innovative products, lower costs and overall better value. Unfortunately, Guam still does not have a level competitive playing field...GTA TeleGuam is the only communications carrier that is legally required to share its network with competitors. This inhibits GTA TeleGuam from being more aggressive in other growth areas.”

* As carrier of last resort for landline phone service on Guam, GTA TeleGuam has an important responsibility to maintain reliable communications. New initiatives are underway to upgrade the company’s copper and fibre-cable network and to enhance proactive network monitoring and management. These projects are intended to speed up new telephone installations, repairs and local call centre support.

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