Digicel Group, the fastest growing mobile telecommunications provider in the Caribbean, has been given governmental approval to launch a GSM network in the Eastern Caribbean island of Anguilla, whose telecoms market has been liberalised, and to acquire Cingular Wireless’ operation in Bermuda.
Following a similar approval granted by the Commonwealth Government of the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica earlier this month, this announcement signifies further progress in the company’s plans to acquire Cingular Wireless operations and build a seamless Pan-Caribbean wireless network, said a company press release.
The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval on each individual island, will significantly expand Digicel’s network from its existing nine markets of operation which include the most recent addition of Trinidad & Tobago, to Anguilla, Bermuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica. 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.
In Anguilla, Digicel will launch a GSM network on the island and play an important role in the recent liberalisation of the telecommunications industry, bringing all the benefits of competitive rates, international roaming, improved coverage, superior customer care and innovative products and services for which the Caribbean company has built its reputation over the past four years, the release said.
‘We are very pleased that Digicel will be playing a role in the liberalisation of the Anguilla telecommunications sector,’ said Anguilla Minister for Infrastructure, Communities and Utilities, Mr. Kenneth Harrigan.
‘Having seen the benefits that Digicel’s presence in other Caribbean markets has brought, we are confident that we are in a strong position for improved telecommunications to make a significant contribution towards the development of our tourism, financial and information-based services on our island.’
In Bermuda, Digicel looks forward to expanding Cingular’s existing operation and becoming the number one mobile telecommunications provider. The release said the transition process for Bermudian customers is promised to be as seamless an experience as possible with Cingular customers keeping all their current Cingular benefits such as BlackBerry as well as enjoying additional benefits that Digicel will bring.
‘Being one of the first small countries in the world to break the stranglehold of monopoly in the telecommunications sector, we have seen in Bermuda first hand the benefits that competition brings in driving growth and development,’ said Minister of Telecommunications and E-commerce, Mr. Michael J. Scott. ‘We look forward to and welcome the entry of Digicel into the Bermuda market.’
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 per cent increase in staff by the end of 2006, due to subscriber growth and market expansion.