Digicel has launched its GSM-based services in Panama, having invested USD350 million in the market. The launch means the Irish-owned, Jamaica-based telecoms group now has operations in 31 markets worldwide, with Panama the third Central American market where it has a presence; it already offers services in Honduras and El Salvador. Digicel will offer services through a network of more than 300 retail distributors and will employ 300 people directly, with a further 1,000 in indirect employment. Digicel was granted its 20-year licence for 30MHz in the 1900MHz band in May 2008, paying USD86 million for the concession; America Movil also successfully obtained a licence at the same time and Panama already has two mobile operators, Movistar and Cable & Wireless. The Panama Ministry of Economy and Finance has stated that the Panamanian economy is expected to grow 7.5% by 2009 and with a population of 3.4 million mobile penetration is currently at approximately 71%.
‘Panama promises to be a very exciting market for us and we are proud to offer the best coverage, best service and best value to the people of Panama,’ said Digicel chairman, Denis O’Brien. ‘Digicel is confident that it can stimulate growth in the mobile market in Panama by increasing mobile penetration within five years to 90% ensuring that more and more Panamanians have access to an affordable high-quality mobile network.’