On Aug. 31 the government of Guam took a small step a huge leap for the Guam Telephone Agency.
TeleGuam Holdings LLC was selected as the successful bidder for privatization of the agency.
TeleGuam is a prestigious bidder and presumably has the business acumen to sense that the agency has potential. The Shamrock Capital Growth Fund — affiliated with the investment arm of the Disney family — is the major partner in TeleGuam.
While the $150 million agreement has not been released and will not be until it has been sent to the Guam legislature it seems the deal is a good one for the agency and for Guam.
The terms of the bid are popular — Lawrence P. Perez general manager with the agency and the board of directors signed the agreement; Robert Hager GTA’s procurement adviser with Patton Boggs LLP: gave the deal his blessing. The agency’s approximately 350 employees — who will receive a bonus regular salary increases or a generous settlement package — in the main are ecstatic.
For GTA’s 65 000 customers the news for the time being is good. Rates are guaranteed for five years; new services — broadband Internet long-distance wireless and digital cable services will be introduced.
The entry into the telecom market of the agency — as a private sector competitor this time on a presumably equal footing — will have its own free market effect on rates and services in Guam.
The conclusion of the lengthy nine-year privatization of the authority brings to an end government control of telephone agencies in the land. The cord to the cumbersome government machine has been cut for the first of Guam’s agencies.
A foot has been inserted in the doorway and it now remains to be seen if the governor the legislature and the Federal Communications Commission will approve the landmark agreement within the statutory 60 days. Speaker Ben Pangelinan has said the legislature will act expeditiously.
For Guam privatization has been slow in coming and painfully accepted by the old guard — both our leaders and employees of the government.
Our leaders should indeed expedite the approval process as soon as possible.
It’s the right call to make.