Bahamian PM Perry Christie has met with Tony Rice, the CEO of Cable and Wireless Communication (CWC), which owns 51% of fixed line incumbent and wireless monopoly holder the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), reports the Nassau Guardian. The talks were believed to have revolved around the prime minister’s intention of re-nationalising BTC. In the wake of the May election of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), the PM said last month that the government would ‘explore all lawful means by which majority ownership of BTC can be restored to the government and the Bahamian people.’ He added that ‘we shall shortly arrange a timetable for discussions that we propose to undertake in this regard with the major owners of the majority stake in BTC and other interested shareholders.’
CWC’s stance on the PM’s plans is as yet unknown, however, a spokesperson for CWC played down the significance of the recent visit, saying that Rice ‘tries to get in front of any new government, particularly when it’s a shareholder and a partner, which is the situation in many other countries.’ As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, CWC purchased a 51% stake in BTC in April 2011 for USD210 million, with the added caveat that the government would allow BTC, under CWC’s leadership, a further three years exclusivity in the wireless market. BTC has so far used its monopoly period to begin making the company ready for full competition, introducing HSDPA – which the company calls ‘4G’ – technology to the archipelago in December last year.