The launch of Jamaica’s prospective third cellular network has been put in doubt after the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) released a study which recommended that the government should not sign off on its mobile licence. Kingston-based Symbiote Investments announced earlier this year that it planned to launch wireless services under the ‘Caricel’ brand to compete with incumbent operators Digicel and Flow. The OCG report finds, however, that there are links between Symbiote and local businessman George Neil, who has ‘adverse traces’ linked to his name following an earlier OCG investigation in 2009 which related to the granting of a telecoms licence to a firm trading as Gotel. Gotel later merged with a company called NewGen and began trading as Symbiote.
For its part, Symbiote says it was not contacted for comment prior to the publication of the OCG report, and it claims that several of the queries raised by the study could easily have been clarified using documents already in the possession of regulators. A report from the Jamaica Gleaner cites Symbiote’s lawyer Patrick Bailey as saying that there are several findings in the report ‘which require legal advice and consultation’. Symbiote is calling for the government to proceed as planned with its licence award.