Wednesday, January 17, 2018

More cell towers needed, Joint Select Committee told


TSTT TALK: Ronald Walcott, centre, executive vice-president, bmobile Services and Operations, speaks to Charles Carter, from left, executive vice-president, Legal, Regulatory and Corporate Secretary Services, Trevor Deane, executive vice-president, Corporate Research, Strategic Analytics and Carrier Research, and Rakesh Goswami, executive vice-president, Government and Enterprise Services, before yesterday’s Joint Select Committee meeting in Parliament in Port of Spain. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

Mark Fraser

 MORE cellphone towers need to be erected in the country, executive vice president of Mobile Services at telecoms provider TSTT, Ronald Walcott, has said.

He made the statement as members of TSTT’s management team appeared yesterday before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament in Port of Spain.

Walcott said TSTT was near to international best practice standards when it came to dropped call rates.

International best practice states the standard for dropped calls is two per cent, while the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has set a standard of four per cent, Walcott said.

TSTT’s current figure for dropped calls is around two per cent, Walcott said.

“This does not mean that we are satisfied with where we are at today, we continue to be aggressive in our optimisation efforts,” Walcott said.

Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas, however, questioned the dropped call figures from TSTT, saying he personally experiences problems with dropped calls on a daily basis during his commute between Arima and Port of Spain along the Priority Bus Route (PBR).

Douglas said he can now tell exactly where the dead zones are along the PBR.

He said the situation has been going on for a long time and he feels “wounded”.

Independent Senator David Small said he also uses the PBR on a daily basis and could identify with Douglas’s woes.

Walcott said some of these “coverage gaps” can only be fixed with more cell towers.

“There are coverage gaps which we have identified and in some instances the only way that we can fix the coverage gaps is by deploying new cell sites. The challenge that we sometimes have with deploying new cell sites is not one of TSTT resources but simply getting approvals to do so,” Walcott said.

“Very recently, we have had situations where we identified  coverage gaps in various communities. We have identified the solution which requires cell erection and persons for various reasons did not want a cell tower in various vicinities.”