Caribbean catch-up: Natcom secures 1700MHz spectrum; ALIV targets Summer 2019 break-even; Ozone limps on

13 Nov 2018

Natcom, the Haitian telco majority owned by Viettel Global, has confirmed that it received a 10MHz block of 4G-suitable 1700MHz spectrum in August this year, and is currently in the process of importing equipment ahead of a nationwide rollout. Natcom is said to preside over a 2G/3G/4G network comprising 1,800 base transceiver stations (BTS), as well as 6,000km of fibre. The cellco has reportedly doubled its user base in the year to date, from 1.68 million at end-2017, to 3.40 million as of 3Q18.

Over in the Bahamas, ALIV, which entered the mobile market in November 2016, breaking up the long-held Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) mobile monopoly, has notched up 125,000 subscribers, up from 110,000 on 30 June. Of this figure, 43,400 users have ported their number from BTC since mobile number portability (MNP) was introduced in April 2017. The cellco has incurred a loss of around BSD109 million (USD109 million) in the two years since its launch, but CEO Damian Blackburn expects to reach break-even point with its operating income by next summer.

Finally, in stark contrast, stricken Barbadian start-up Ozone Wireless has confirmed that it is still operational, although its user base has dwindled to just 700, down from 1,700 two months ago, when the company revealed the true scale of its perilous financial situation. Lester Edwards, a consultant working with Ozone, told Barbados Today: ‘At the moment there are investors seeking to come on board but there is not much we can report on that because talks are still ongoing.’

Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, ALIV, Natcom, Ozone Wireless