Nearshore Americas

Cable & Wireless Seeks Control of Trinidad’s State Telecom Firm

The chief executive of British telecom group Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) has met Trinidad & Tobago’s Finance Minister Larry Howai to discuss obtaining a controlling stake in the state-owned telecom firm TSTT, according to the Trinidad Express.

The news comes barely a week after CWC sold its stake in Monaco Telecom and declared it plans to focus solely on Latin America and the Caribbean.

In a letter to the Trinidad & Tobago government, CWC’s CEO Phil Bentley promised that his firm would invest US$100 million in the Caribbean country and turn around the sagging fortunes of TSTT (Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago).

Cable & Wireless owns a 49% share in the Trinidadian firm, but says it is no longer interested in remaining what it describes as “a passive investor.”

Increasing its stake by 2% would mean gaining operational control of TSTT. This is precisely what Cable & Wireless is looking for. The British telecom group, according to reports, has similarly taken control of state-run telecom firms in the Bahamas and Panama.

Cable & Wireless is shifting its headquarters from London to Miami, Florida, a clear sign that it wants to bolster and expand its operation in countries south of the U.S. border.

Bentley, according to the paper, has promised to provide schoolchildren with laptop computers and free Internet connectivity in order to make them part of what he called “e-ready society.”

As part of this program, Cable & Wireless will set up e-learning centers across the Caribbean country, particularly in rural areas. In addition, the telecom group would help the government roll out high-speed 4G services.

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“We will make substantial investment to expand TSTT’s 4G network,” Bentley stated, according to the Trinidad Express.

CWC’s subsidiary LIME has extensive operations in several countries across the Caribbean. But LIME does not operate in Trinidad & Tobago, because of its parent company’s stake in TSTT.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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