The Jamaican government is going ahead with its plan to award the island’s third mobile licence to Symbiote Investments, which has said it will offer services under the brand name Caricel. Prime Minister Andrew Holness made a statement to parliament saying that the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET) has concluded an investigation into Symbiote and found that there is no reason that its 15-year mobile licence should not be awarded.
The investigation followed an earlier report from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) published in July this year, which found links between Symbiote and local businessman George Neil. Neil had ‘adverse traces’ linked to his name following an OCG investigation in 2009 which related to the granting of a telecoms licence to a firm trading as Gotel. Gotel later merged with a company called NewGen and began trading as Symbiote.
The government now says that since the ‘adverse traces’ are from prior to 2009 and the police have confirmed that there is no ongoing investigation into Neil, then the award of the licence can go ahead with a fee of USD20.83 million, as originally announced in February this year. Jamaica’s mobile market is currently a duopoly for Digicel and Flow (formerly LIME).