Digicel (Antigua and Barbuda) wins ‘first round’ in USD25m spectrum row

7 Jun 2019

Digicel (Antigua and Barbuda) which last week applied for a court order to prevent the government from seizing or confiscating any of its 850MHz spectrum allocation for reassignment to state-owned fixed and mobile operator Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), has reportedly won an injunction against the government. The cellco, owned by Denis O’Brien’s Caribbean mobile operator Digicel Group, says it has won the first round of a legal battle to stop the government confiscating spectrum for reallocation to the state-owned rival, noting that if it fails in its challenge it would be forced to spend USD25 million on rebuilding its network. Accusing the government of allowing anti-competitive practices to ‘run amok’ in favouring its own company, Digicel said: ‘In any other market this would be a cause for concern for the regulator. But uniquely in Antigua and Barbuda, APUA is also the regulator, and hence holds the roles of both referee and player, allowing for protectionist and anti-competitive behaviour’. The case continues.