Trinidad and Tobago’s leap into digital excellence

In the heart of the Caribbean, the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has embarked on a transformative journey, navigating through the complexities of digital evolution with a remarkable strategy that sets a global benchmark. This journey, rooted in proactive digital policy and telecom regulation, has led to the prestigious recognition of winning the GSMA Government Leadership Award.

The GSMA’s Government Leadership Award recognises world-class leadership in establishing sound regulatory policies for mobile connectivity. Here’s how this Small Island Developing State modernises their regulatory regimes and brings digital services to its citizens.

A visionary approach to digital transformation

At the core of Trinidad and Tobago’s digital revolution is the Ministry of Digital Transformation (MDT), tasked with charting a path towards a digitally empowered future through its national digital strategy. The National Strategy for DigitalTT, extending to 2026, aims to enhance public services, infrastructure, and the economy. The United Nations Development Programme has lauded the country for its systematic application of digital tools and approaches, a testament to its forward-thinking agenda.

The role of an active, consultative regulator

The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) exemplifies the role of an active, consultative regulator, pivotal in steering the nation towards digital excellence. In the span of a year, TATT has held five public consultations covering broad topics from spectrum management to the authorisation of maritime mobile services. This inclusive approach ensures the relevance and efficiency of regulations and fosters innovation, as seen in their regulatory sandbox initiative with the University of the West Indies. Additionally, TATT’s commitment to inclusivity is evident in its subsidies for assistive devices for individuals with disabilities, opening the digital world to all citizens.

Leading the charge in spectrum management

Trinidad and Tobago have positioned themselves as leaders in spectrum management within the region. Their proactive participation in CITEL and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) has been instrumental in identifying key bands, 3.3 – 3.4 GHz and 3.6 – 3.8 GHz, for IMT in ITU Region 2 (Americas) for WRC-23. Moreover, the assignment of additional spectrum in 700 MHz, 850 MHz and AWS bands to mobile operators at significantly reduced rates of up to 50% underscores their commitment to fostering an environment conducive to digital growth.

Bridging the digital divide

Understanding the critical role of digital inclusion, the government has initiated the development of twelve ICT Access Centres across the islands. These centres are more than just points of access; they are hubs of learning and development, offering skills training and access to devices. This initiative addresses the usage gap and empowers citizens with the knowledge and tools necessary for participating in the digital economy. Trinidad and Tobago’s journey towards digital transformation is a beacon of inspiration for Small Island Developing States and the world at large. Through strategic planning, inclusive regulation, and a commitment to digital inclusion, the nation is not just navigating the challenges of the digital age but is reshaping them into opportunities for growth and development. The GSMA Government Leadership Award is a fitting recognition of their efforts, a testament to what visionary leadership and collaborative governance can achieve in the digital era. This story of digital excellence from a small island nation is a powerful reminder of the boundless potential that lies within innovative digital policy and regulation.

Read more about the challenges of small island nations and the efforts of Palau here.