By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Bahamas' second mobile operator yesterday said more than 4,000 subscribers have switched to its network, with regulators releasing $5.6 million from its performance bond.
Damian Blackburn, Aliv's chief executive, said the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority's (URCA) release of more than 30 per cent of its pledged security showed it was meeting network roll-out milestones.
"We have had over 4,000 customers moving their number from the other operator [Bahamas Telecommunications Company] to us," said Mr Blackburn. Mobile number portability was launched in April 2017, allowing consumers to retain their existing number for commercial purposes and ease of contact while switching providers.
Aliv said it has more than 80,000 subscribers. Mr Blackburn, a former Digicel executive, added: "You have to make sure that your vision is clear and deliver on it. People are beginning to have faith in our service.
"In the license that we were given last July there were certain network roll-out milestones. The first was to be up and running in New Providence and Grand Bahama by October 1 last year. We were up and running, and URCA validated that.
"We also had to meet certain quality tests for call quality and data speeds. An $18 million bond was put up as surety for meeting those milestones. Today, I think URCA has released about $5.6 million of that bond. That shows we have been making good progress."
Mr Blackburn added: "We were a bit slower than the original plan with our roll-out on Andros, Exuma and Bimini, but we are on track."
He said a co-location agreement with the Bahamas Telecommunications Company was critical to the roll-out plan on those islands. Co-location, which is a standard practice in the global communications industry, involves BTC and Aliv sharing the same mobile tower sites and other network facilities, particularly on the Family Islands.
Mr Blackburn said that in addition to Aliv's service, the company's roll-out on the Family Islands had provided additional employment opportunities.