Jamaica’s prospective third mobile licensee Symbiote Investments has launched a legal battle to allow it to retain the operating concession it was awarded in September. According to a report from the Jamaica Gleaner, the country’s Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) has called for an investigation to be launched into the licensing of the firm, but Symbiote is challenging the move in a court case which is due to begin today (Thursday 5 January 2017).
The government announced in September that it was to go ahead with the award of a mobile licence to Symbiote, ignoring a report from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) which found that the company had links to businessman George Neil who had ‘adverse traces’ linked to his name. The government responded by saying that the concerns dated back to before 2009, that there was no ongoing investigation into Neil and that the licensing would go ahead. Nevertheless, authorities in both Jamaica and the United States have said that the granting of a mobile concession to Symbiote could raise issues over national security.
Symbiote has agreed to pay USD20.83 million for a 15-year licence, with plans to launch services under the name Caricel. Jamaica’s mobile market is currently a duopoly of Digicel and Flow (formerly LIME).