Another tale of secret dealings and shady contracts
Actually this happens all the time. Tender for a government contract ? It may be public, but if you're in that particular market it's pretty easy to spot the few clauses that guarantee that a specific company has already been chosen - no use applying.
This is done openly and everyone is aware of it, so why choose to make the negociations secret ? That's the kind of thing that is going to ensure that a gigantic spotlight is turned on and targetting the affair closely. It is the exact opposite of what is apparently wanted : to ensure that the Tuvalu government gets to quietly pick another provider.
If they had made a public offering with the criteria required to ensure many operators could apply, then they could let the application period pass by quasi-ignored by most and pick the operator of their choice at the end, no questions asked. Of course, the incumbent would whine, but everyone would expect that and the comments would be few. Mission accomplished.
Instead, Tuvalu now has the attention of the Internet world for trying to avoid attention.