URCA issues ruling on BTC/NewCo national roaming pact

26 Jul 2016

Bahamian regulator the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has issued its final determination on whether cellular incumbent the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) should provide national roaming to new licensee NewCo during the latter’s rollout period. URCA’s order imposed on BTC the obligation to provide NewCo with national roaming services for a period 24 months, by the end of which the newcomer is required, under the conditions of its licence, to have rolled out its own network with nationwide coverage. URCA ruled that the 36-month period requested by NewCo backer Cable Bahamas Ltd (CBL) was ‘unnecessary and excessive’, whilst the 18-months suggested by BTC would not be in the national interest, as NewCo would not have completed its rollout within that period.

In its decision, URCA determined that the national roaming agreement should include the following services: all incoming and outgoing calls to and from NewCo’s mobile customers, regardless of origin or destination; all inbound and outbound messaging services to or from NewCo’s mobile subscribers; access to calling features for NewCo’s mobile customers; and access to mobile internet services for NewCo’s mobile customers. The order also specifies that BTC is not required to support international roaming agreements between NewCo and its foreign counterparts.