IndiGo bemoans continued wireless monopoly

16 Mar 2011

The Bahamas newspaper Tribune Business is reporting that IndiGo Networks, part of the System Resource Group (SRG), is unhappy that the sale of a 51% stake in BTC to Cable & Wireless (LIME), agreed earlier this year, will extend the incumbent’s monopoly on the cellular sector until 2014 at the earliest. Paul Hutton-Ashkenny, president of IndiGo was quoted as saying: ‘I just wish the day would come when we can compete in the mobile area…The only good coming out of it [the BTC sale] as far as mobile is concerned is the clock is ticking now. The end is in sight, whereas the day before yesterday, there was no end in sight.’

To preserve BTC’s value and encourage LIME to pay the USD210 million purchase price, as well as minimise the ‘voluntary redundancy’ exercise that will take place over the next year at BTC, the Government is moving to amend the Communications Act and regulations to extend BTC’s post-privatisation cellular monopoly from two to three years. This means that the bidding process for a second Bahamas-based cellular licence will only start in April 2014. Given that it could take a year to award the licence, and another year for the winner to get their infrastructure ready, it is possible cellular competition may only become a reality in 2016. And a third cellular licence will only be offered five years after privatisation is completed.

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