Star Network scraps launch after Trinidadian authorities intervene

Star Network scraps launch after Trinidadian authorities intervene

UPDATE: Would-be Trinidadian newcomer Star Networks has been backed by Digicel. Its attempted launch event last week was cancelled after regulator TATT confirmed that it did not hold an operating licence.

In a statement, Digicel said: “As a licensed provider, we welcome anyone who wants to use Digicel’s services to lawfully provide reliable connectivity, and we are in ongoing discussions with Star Network to support their needs in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

ORIGINAL STORY: A purported new Trinidadian operator has cancelled its launch after the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) issued a warning to the public that it had not received an operating licence.

Local news outlets reported that start-up firm Star Network (formerly Blue Mobile Network) had scheduled a launch event on Friday 9th June at Invaders Bay Tower in Mucurapo, Port of Spain. TeleGeography reports that the event was cancelled at the last minute.

Hundreds of would-be customers were lured into attending by the seemingly false offer of smartphones and laptops for just TTD1 (US$0.14). Some members of the public appear to have confused Star Network with SpaceX unit Starlink, which last week did receive a 10-year operating licence in Trinidad and Tobago.

TATT issued a statement saying: “There is no new mobile network in the country. [Any] potential operator wishing to operate a public telecommunications network, must apply for, be approved, and be granted a concession to operate a network. No application has been made nor a concession granted to any potential ‘new’ operator that was scheduled to launch today [Friday].”

However, local outlet Newsday reported that hours after the cancelled launch event, Star Network issued a statement on social media accusing incumbent provider TSTT (Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago) of attempting to “misconstrue information to the public by indicating we are a mobile virtual network operator.”

In a letter to the regulator, TSTT argued that there was no proof that Star Network had been authorised to provide public telecommunications services, going as far as to claim that the newcomer was therefore either attempting to circumvent the Telecommunications Act or even flat-out committing fraud “in an attempt to extract money [from an] unsuspecting public.”

Star Network countered that it had been cleared to operate by TATT as Blue Network, removing the word “Mobile” from its original name. However, TATT said that it had received no application nor granted any concession to any new operator, adding that this process must be followed by any party wishing to operate a network in Trinidad and Tobago.

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