The Jamaican Supreme Court has cleared the way for the government to revoke the telecoms licence granted to Symbiote Investments, which trades as Caricel. In handing down its ruling, the court also rejected an application from lawyers representing Symbiote to appeal the decision. Confirming the development, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte told the Jamaica Gleaner that the Government will now move to complete the process, which was initiated based on a recommendation from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).
Ms Forte told the newspaper: ‘The process had commenced for the revocation of the licences of Symbiote under the Telecommunications Act, and they made an application for leave to appeal. The leave was denied. There was a stay of execution of continuing the process of revocation, and that has been lifted … There were a number of issues regarding the fitness and propriety of the licensee, many questions regarding what was disclosed, and the accuracy of the information … Information provided was discrepant and inconsistent and sometimes unverifiable. There were a number of issues.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2017 troubled 4G start-up Symbiote agreed to sell its small-scale Jamaican 4G business to South Africa-based Involution for an undisclosed price. The sale was made public in February 2018, only for the regulatory authorities to protest that Symbiote had not sought government approval for the transaction. The following month, Andrew Wheatley, the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, initiated the process to revoke the licence altogether.