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Bidding begins on second cellular licence

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Prime Minister Perry Christie

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

THE bidding process for the country’s second cellular provider licence begins today, Prime Minister Perry Christie said.

The request for proposals (RFP) process will be launched through the government’s website and will close on February 11, 2015.

Mr Christie said the government hopes to announce the successful bidder by April 2015 and cell service is expected to begin “rolling out” six months after the selection of that winning bidder. He also said he hopes the successful bidder could secure coverage for all islands within two to three years of being awarded a licence.

Making the announcement yesterday, Mr Christie said while the government recognises BTC’s efforts to continuously modernise its cellular service, it is “critical that access to mobile and broadband technology become more affordable and accessible to everyone in our society.”

“The competitive selection process that will be adopted for the award of a second cellular licence is a two-phased approach, involving a technical and financial assessment in phase one and a spectrum auction in phase two,” he said.

“Only those applicants that satisfy the minimum criteria of phase one will be allowed to participate in phase two. The successful applicant in the end will be the one which acquires the highest combined score of the scores derived in phase one and phase two,” Mr Christie said.

“With this approach, the government is seeking to strike the right balance of optimising the revenue from allocating rights to a valuable spectrum, with its broader objectives of promoting competition, investment and innovation in the cellular mobile market,” he said.

“The phase one assessment will be conducted by an evaluation committee, comprising of members of the Cellular Liberalisation Task Force in addition to persons whose expertise would be valuable given the scope of the proposals that are likely to be submitted in response to the RFP. The spectrum auction will be administered by URCA (Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority) on the government’s behalf.”

Michelle Grell-Bereaux, communications policy advisor on the task force, said there is a $5,000 fee to register and collect the RFP package. There is a $25,000 fee to enter the bidding process.

“In order to receive a copy of the RFP, an interested party must register to participate in the process,” she said. “All registered entities will have the opportunity to seek clarification on the RFP via a virtual data room that has been set up by the task force. All queries made and responses to those queries will be posted within the data room for all registered entities to see. This will be the only mechanism for persons participating in this process to communicate with the task force and/or the evaluation committee about this process,” she said.

The government will not be able to issue a licence to a third mobile operator before April 5, 2016. According to the task force, the government intends to delay the possible entry of a third mobile operator for “at least three years” from the commercial launch of the second cellular operator.

Junkanoo Mobile, Cable Bahamas and Limitless Bahamas have previously announced their intentions to vie for the second cellular licence. Regional telecommunications provider Digicel has also previously expressed interest in placing a bid.

Comments

duppyVAT 9 years, 8 months ago

Where is the transparency to the bidding process? How much will the PLP crony consultants get for facilitating the bidders? Will the successful bidder be a real international competitor of a shell company (Blue Waters) to cover for PLP crony backers?

Bahamians dont trust these crooked politicians....... period.

Well_mudda_take_sic 9 years, 8 months ago

Chinese cellular service coming your way soon thanks to Christie's new "backers".

Sickened 9 years, 8 months ago

BTC used to be embarrassing before the sale. Now they are just pathetic. Trying to make a call (land-line or cellular) is just an exercise in futility. I don't think they have done anything they promised to do except improve customer service... which, I have to say, with my very few experiences, is the best I've ever seen from them.

If this crappy ass government picks another loser to provide phone service, like they usually do, our phone service will still be garbage.

asiseeit 9 years, 8 months ago

The sip sip is that the fix is already in and the deal is done. Has been for while. I would love to be a fly on the wall to see whose proposal changes after each round to give it the upper hand. I also would love to see how many politicians will have shares in the winning bidder. This is The Bahamas and we all know that our public officials are crookeder than a steep mountain road.

ThisIsOurs 9 years, 8 months ago

The gambling people more than likely. 300,000 to pay the Governor General's debt...

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