Negotiations between Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and the Bahamian government over the future of incumbent Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) have been ‘fruitful’ reports the Nassau Guardian. The Bahamas’ new government has expressed its intention to regain control of the operator, in which it currently holds a 49% stake. CEO of CWC – which holds the remaining 51% – Tony Rice said: ‘The new government has indicated their preferences regarding BTC, but have also made it clear that they respect our agreement,’ adding that the dialogue was still in the early stages and that CWC would continue to work with the government but would also ensure that its shareholders are not disadvantaged. Analysts have suggested that the most likely resolution will be a ‘face-saving’ measure that would see the government buy back 2% of the company but allowing CWC to retain executive control of the company.
In a separate announcement, BTC has said it will invest USD50 million in 2013 on services and infrastructure. The lion’s share of the figure – up to around USD30 million – will be spent on replacing the telco’s fixed line infrastructure with a next generation network. BTC’s CEO Geoff Houston added that the ongoing upgrades to the provider’s wireless network had been delayed by the recent hurricane: ‘We’re having to go back and return to every single cell site…We have diverted a lot of the team to go over the whole network again and double check everything. We expect by the end of November to be through everything.’