Bahamian telecoms watchdog the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has set out its draft plan for 2015, marking out the liberalisation of the wireless sector as its primary focus for the year. To that end, the regulator noted that it would not begin any ‘significant’ new projects in 2015, except those related to cellular liberalisation. The government issued its request for proposals (RFP) in November 2014, and would-be bidders have until 11 February to apply for the Bahamas’ second mobile licence, with a winner to be selected early in Q2 2015. During the first quarter, URCA plans to develop regulations for infrastructure sharing and review interconnection rules and charges as well as looking into potential national roaming rights for network operators. The watchdog also intends to ensure that mobile number portability (MNP) is available from as soon as the new operator launches and will reconstitute the Number Portability Working Group to include all the previous participants and the new provider.
Following the allocation of the new licence, URCA plans to consider whether the incumbent mobile operator, the Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) should be designated as having significant market power (SMP) and have additional pricing regulations imposed upon it. Further, the regulator will review the current Mobile Party Pays (MPP) charging scheme, under which calls from mobile phones are charged on a Calling Party Pays (CPP) basis, whilst calls from a fixed line to a mobile are charged on a Receiving Party Pays (RPP) basis.