Regulator picks third mobile network operator; does it go with the Flow?

16 Apr 2015

The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago (TATT) has recommended to Cabinet the company it has chosen to be the country’s third mobile network operator, Science and Technology Minister Rupert Griffith confirmed, as quoted by local paper Newsday. Although the company is yet to be publicly identified, Griffith said: ‘This third mobile service provider will boost competition and yield to the consumer greater affordability, wider choice and faster speeds among other benefits.’ The minister made the disclosure during an address at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Mount Hope, in which he also highlighted results of the WEF Global Information Technology Report 2015 which ranked Trinidad & Tobago at the top of the world rankings for mobile penetration. He confirmed to Newsday the proposed third cellco was recommended based on an evaluation of service providers who responded to the TATT’s recent Request For Proposal (RFP), and stated his confidence that the market would see a competitor to incumbents Digicel and Telecommunication Services of Trinidad & Tobago (TSTT) ‘very soon’. TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported in August 2014 that the TATT was reviewing four applications received in its RFP tender for a third mobile operator, namely: Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC, the 49% shareholder of mobile/fixed operator TSTT, which is 51% state-owned), cableco Columbus (Flow Trinidad, which was acquired by CWC in a deal completed at the end of March 2015), Star Mobile Caribbean (a Trinidad-registered company) and Telesur (a full-service telco in Suriname).

Any choice of new mobile licensee other than UK-backed CWC or its new asset Flow would mean a major upheaval in the local market as the British group would lose its cellular presence in Trinidad & Tobago. Last month the TATT gave its approval to the acquisition of Columbus Communications (Flow) by CWC on condition that the latter offloads its 49% stake in TSTT.