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Caricel sells LTE network to South African firm

Friday, February 09, 2018

JAMAICAN LTE broadband network Caricel has announced the acquisition of its majority shares by a South African company, Involution Limited, under a sale agreement negotiated last October.

In a statement on the sale, director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lowell Lawrence said that Caricel has chosen Involution Limited “because it is a progressive and innovative investor who would be able to provide the best Internet experience at reasonable prices.

“We expect this to create a positive impact on our economy, in that it will allow entrepreneurs, students and families to grow their businesses and improve their quality of life. Caricel has always sought to provide quality service, with the added confidence that we understand the needs of our customers and we are willing to invest in meeting those needs,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence also assured Caricel customers that its doors will remain open to serve them, and that his company is confident that the imminent changes will work to the greater advantage of the customers.

Involution was founded in 2017 by South African tech entrepreneurs Brandon Leigh, Conrad Leigh, Phumlani Moholi, and Gustav Schoeman, who also operate Rain, a new LTE only operator in South Africa, with an ever-expanding network of sites and customers.

Involution's parent company, InstituteX, was founded in 2010, with a view to “disrupt the mobile industry”.

Involution was founded as a subsidiary of InstituteX in 2017 to allow for the pursuit of international opportunities such as the acquisition of Caricel, with the intention that it will acquire and grow the building blocks to build new generation, data-focused, mobile network operators.

Caricel pledged in February, 2017, to continue offering services, despite an on-going legal battle in the Jamaican courts over its spectrum licence.

Caricel, part of Symbiote Investments Limited, had applied for an injunction to block the Government from revoking its spectrum licence in January, 2017. The Supreme Court ruled against Symbiote, refusing the operator's application for an injunction and allowing the Government to carry out investigations into its services.

The court ruling meant Caricel faces losing the licence it was granted in May 2016 that allowed it to deploy 4G services across the Caribbean island. Caricel had invested around $50 million on deployment up to that time, with a further $50 million earmarked for expansion over the next three years.

Caricel told the Jamaica Observer then that the company would, however, continue to offer LTE services, despite the court's decision.

Caricel says it has continued to offer top of the line LTE service to its customers, since.