In the wake of Digicel Jamaica’s announcement that it will deactivate the network inherited as a result of its merger with Claro on 1 March, sector watchdog the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has announced that it is looking into what protection can be offered to customers currently using the Claro network. In a press release from the regulator, the OUR expressed its concern at the potential safeguards available to Claro subscribers in light of the upcoming network closure. Digicel said it had moved forward its communication plan, informing those using the network of the imminent changes. Digicel is encouraging customers of Claro to move to its network, and is allowing those that switch networks to retain their current number.
As previously noted by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Digicel Jamaica took over Claro Jamaica as part of a wider deal, announced in March 2011, in which America Movil (AM) would acquire Digicel’s operations in Honduras and El Salvador, with Digicel taking control of AM’s Jamaican arm. The tie-up has been unsuccessfully challenged in the courts, by both LIME and Jamaica’s competition watchdog, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC). Most recently it emerged that during his brief stint as prime minister, Andrew Holness removed a condition imposed on the acquisition deal that obliged the combined entity to continue operating Claro’s network and build-out the infrastructure to meet the requirements of Claro’s concession. Subsequently, LIME and Digicel have been involved in a mud-slinging media fight where LIME has complained of an uneven playing field and anti-competitive behaviour from its rival, whilst Digicel railed against LIME for poor service and its inability to adapt to the liberalisation of the sector.