Digicel plans takeover in Dominica

Digicel has been given provisional approval to take over Cingular Wirelesss in Dominica.

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has approved in principal the company’s planned acquisition of Cingular Wireless’ Dominica operation. Full approval will be subject to any conditions following the special meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority Council of Ministers, states a Digicel press release.

‘This development represents an important milestone as Digicel moves forward with its agreement to acquire Cingular Wireless’ Caribbean and Bermuda operations as part of its mission to create a seamless pan Caribbean network with enormous benefits for the region and its customers,’ the release states.

The purchase is subject to regulatory approval on each individual island.

If approved, it will expand Digicel’s network to Bermuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, in addition to its existing nine markets of operation which include the most recent addition of Trinidad & Tobago. The acquisition also strengthens Digicel’s market share in the Cayman Islands, Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, where Cingular’s customer base will transition to Digicel and licenses to provide service in St. Martin, St. Barths, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

‘Based on the enormously impressive market penetration shown in Jamaica and in the OECS islands, we are confident that the presence of Digicel in Dominica will bring increased competition, which will result in new and improved quality of services provided, better coverage and lower prices to the Dominica consumers. In addition to the company playing a significant role in raising the quality and level of communications services on the island, we look forward to their active participation in the development of Dominica’s communities’, said Minister for Housing, Lands, Telecommunications, Energy and Ports Reginald Austrie.

‘We are delighted to have received this approval in principal from the Commonwealth Government of Dominica’ said Digicel Chairman, Denis O’Brien. ‘We wish to thank Minister Austrie and the government of Dominica for the level of support they have shown both Digicel and Cingular and we look forward to full confirmation in the near future. We are working with Cingular on full integration plans to ensure that this process will be as seamless as possible with former Cingular customers in Dominica being able to keep their mobile phone, telephone number as well as their current benefits’.

‘As the best performing network with the widest coverage in the Caribbean, Digicel is committed to changing the face of mobile telecommunications on the island by focusing on raising the acceptable levels of quality and coverage of calls for Dominican customers as well as introducing our award wining customer care service’ added Digicel Eastern Caribbean CEO, Mr. Kevin White.

With investments in the Caribbean exceeding $US600 million, Digicel recently reached a milestone of 1,051 employees in its fourth year of operation. The company anticipates a 30 percent increase in staff by the end of 2006, due to subscriber growth and market expansion.

Digicel plans to enter into a roaming agreement with Cingular that will provide former Cingular and Digicel customers with favourable roaming rates in additional markets. Digicel’s planned expansion to five new territories – Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis – will also result in more savings on calls within the Digicel network.