7 Apr 2003
UK-based Cable & Wireless (C&W) [CW.L] has been granted permission to operate in the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe where it will compete with incumbent operator France Télécom. Initially the telco will provide voice and data transmission solutions such as international private leased circuits, frame relay, VoIP and IP-VPN services for the corporate sector. Following an aggressive expansion programme in the area, C&W is now able to operate in 17 Caribbean countries. The region has undergone a liberalisation process in recent years which has seen C&W broker a series of deals to prematurely terminate its exclusive licences in a number of markets; the process began after regional governments concluded that monopoly situations were preventing competition and stifling economic development as well as contravening World Trade Organisation guidelines. Now the operator is keen to expand its presence in the newly liberalised Caribbean. Errald Miller, chief executive of C&W (West Indies), was quoted as saying that the company’s regional operations have enjoyed perennial success and indeed, while the group reported declining revenues in the last fiscal year, its C&W Regional division, which includes fixed line and mobile services in the Caribbean, saw turnover increase by 8% on the previous year. It is not all good news for C&W though. The telco had submitted a bid for the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, which is currently being privatised, but last week discovered that it was not on the government’s shortlist.