Locally-owned triple-play provider Cable Bahamas Limited (CBL) has defeated rival Virgin Mobile Bahamas to claim the Bahamas’ second mobile licence, paving the way for the operator to launch the nation’s first alternative mobile services to compete with incumbent Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC). The Cellular Liberalisation Task Force (CLTF) announced earlier this week that CBL had won the second phase of the selection process, a spectrum auction overseen by sector watchdog the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA), with a final bid of BSD62.5 million (USD62.1 million). Under the terms of the licence, CBL will now establish a new company (NewCo) to hold the licence. NewCo will be 49%-owned by CBL, which will retain full management and board control, whilst the remaining 51% will be owned by a new holding to award the 15-year licence by the end of the year. company (HoldingCo), shares in which will be sold to Bahamian investors. The CLTF expects
In an interview with local newspaper Tribune 242 CBL’s VP of marketing, David Burrows, stressed the importance of the company’s existing infrastructure in completing the ‘mammoth task’ of the government’s demanding rollout schedule. Mr Burrows added that CBL is optimistic about its ability to take on former monopoly holder BTC, saying that CBL is ‘well poised’ due its strong data network: ‘It’s more and more about data. That’s one of the things that stands out for CBL….Wherever you’re going, that network we have in place will be able to deliver that data.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, pan-Caribbean group Digicel was long considered the front runner for the new concession, but backed out in April 2015, during the early stages of the selection process. No statement was given on the reason for its withdrawal, although the group had previously been critical of the ownership and rollout obligations of the new concession.