Cable Bahamas Limited (CBL) claims that its entry to the Bahamian wireless sector could see mobile penetration in the country increase by between 29 and 33 percentage points, Tribune 242 writes, citing an offering document for an upcoming rights issue. CBL cited the ‘inherent dissatisfaction’ with the incumbent monopoly’s services, adding that the current penetration rate of 82% was well below the average for the Caribbean.
Despite its apparent optimism, a timeline for CBL’s wireless debut remains sketchy. The complicated requirements imposed on the winning bidder of last year’s licence auction have caused delays in getting the new cellco off the ground. Under the terms of the licence, a 51% stake in the new mobile operator – dubbed ‘NewCo’ for the time being – must be held by Bahamian investors by a new holding company, ‘HoldingCo’. HoldingCo has yet to be capitalised and ratified, however, preventing CBL from formalising shareholder agreements and other important legal formalities that will govern the relationship between CBL and NewCo. According to an unnamed source, CBL’s provision of management and other services to NewCo and the fees charged for such, have been sticking points: ‘The key issue at the moment is resolving how Cable Bahamas works with NewCo… The government wants to make sure that Cable treats the other shareholders in NewCo fairly.’