Caricel — first Jamaican company to get mobile spectrum licence

Caricel Prepares To Break Into mobile market

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 21, 2016





Symbiote Investments Ltd, the first fully Jamaican-owned telecom company to be granted a local mobile spectrum licence, says it will trade as Caricel.

The company informed the Jamaica Observer on Friday that trading under the Caricel brand, it intends to bring "cutting-edge technology, lightning fast broadband speeds and serious innovation to the industry, so the Jamaican consumer will have first world products and services being provided by a Jamaican-owned and controlled company for the first time".


Former Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell referred to the approval of the new licensee at a press briefing at the PNP’s headquarters in Kingston. However, he did not name the company.


On Friday, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, confirmed in a press release that the government had approved the award of the mobile spectrum licence. Approval was granted by the cabinet and a payment schedule with terms agreed by all parties involved last Monday.


"It is a win-win for the customer. We are proud to welcome a wholly owned Jamaican company, powered by Jamaicans, to the telecommunications industry," Wheatley said.


He added that this is in keeping with the Ministry’s mandate of ensuring access to and affordability of telecoms services, and the development and competitiveness of the sector for sustainable national development."


"In light of the merger between Cable and Wireless and Columbus Communications, and soon Liberty Global, I take the opportunity to once again welcome tripartite competition to the mobile telecoms sector, as the increased choice will empower the consumer and force greater innovation from the sector," Wheatley said.


In response, Symbiote Investments also issued a release Friday in which it said that it welcomed the news of the granting of the licence. The company assured that it will pay the full spectrum price of US$20.8 million commencing in 30 days’ time.


One year ago, Symbiote was granted a mobile carrier licence, which allows for cellular communications. With the approval of a spectrum licence, which provides wider broadband coverage, the company is expected to increase competition in a market dominated by two overseas entities, Liberty Global which last week aquired Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) and its FLOW brand, and Digicel, an Irish-owned company with its head office based in Jamaica.


Symbiote thanked both the previous and current administrations on the successful completion of the exercise, for the confidence they have reposed in them.


The company also noted that the previous government had granted provisional approval earlier this year, pending due diligence, while the current government granted final approval on the successful completion of the exercise.


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