Flow Grenada to receive LTE licence; 4G launch expected ‘soon’

20 May 2019

Flow Grenada, a unit of UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) which is itself part of US-listed Liberty Latin America, is poised to get a 4G LTE operating licence after agreeing an ‘amicable solution’ with the government to avert a court battle.

In January this year CWC and Flow Grenada were granted leave to move ahead with a lawsuit against Grenada’s Minister for Infrastructure Development, Public Utilities and Energy, Gregory Bowen, and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), on the grounds of discrimination. The UK-based group confirmed at the time that it had received the green light from the High Court to sue both parties over ‘alleged improprieties in the issuance of spectrum licences to telecommunications providers in Grenada’. The court approved its application to pursue its claim to ascertain whether ‘certain procedures and decisions may have been illegal, improper and unreasonable’.

In announcing the development CWC noted that since 2008 its local unit in Grenada had applied to the NTRC and Bowen on more than one occasion for a 4G LTE mobile operating licence – each time without success. Whilst Bowen argued repeatedly that Flow Grenada’s applications were turned down for other reasons, including most recently for its failure to comply with a recommendation to holds talks with another provider – AisleCom, which applied to use the same spectrum as Flow for its LTE service – Flow cried foul and argued that favouritism was shown towards its main rival Digicel Grenada, which launched commercial 700MHz LTE network services in December 2018.

However, Flow Grenada says it has now withdrawn its application for judicial review as a high court judge has ordered that it should also be issued a 4G licence. In a press release, the operator claims that the court order was issued in the last few weeks and allows Flow to provide LTE services with immediate effect. Further, the CWC-owned company says the order is legally binding on both Bowen’s office and the NTRC. Flow country manager James Pitt confirmed that an ‘amicable solution’ had been reached on the issue, noting: ‘I am pleased that we have mutually agreed to a solution that works for all involved, so that we can get back to our core business of delivering a world-class experience to our customers. Though it is regrettable that the previous actions taken have momentarily placed us at a disadvantage in providing LTE services, we are confident that our proven track record of delivering a fast, reliable, island-wide 4G mobile service and our ability to offer real-time assistance to solve issues will once again be the driving force to help us deliver a superior LTE experience for our customers in the coming months.’

The commercial launch of Flow Grenada’s 4G network is expected to take place ‘soon’, as the company is currently in the test phase of deploying the new system.

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