Haitian president sets 4G licence price at USD300m, report says

17 Dec 2019

In an attempt to draw a line under the long-running dispute over the price of 4G licences in Haiti, president Jovenel Moise has reportedly set the price of the concessions at USD300 million. Local news site Le Nouvelliste quotes Mr Moise as saying: ‘When I arrived as the head of state, I heard that there was a licence to award. For this licence, I heard several figures: USD10 million, USD20 million, USD70 million dollars. I asked experts to do a study. Today, licences of this type cost nearly USD300 million.’

Back in November 2018 official National Council of Telecommunications (Conseil National des Telecommunications, Conatel) documentation emerged proposing drastically different prices for concessions for the country’s two cellcos, Digicel and Natcom. Much to Digicel’s consternation, the regulator had wanted to charge it USD315 million for a 15-year licence, while Natcom – a 60/40 JV between Viettel Group and the Haitian government – was only liable for a USD120 million licence fee.

TeleGeography notes that Natcom launched a small-scale 4G network in September 2016 (continued operational status unclear) and went on to take receipt of an additional 2×5MHz block of 1700MHz 4G spectrum in August 2018. Digicel has yet to switch on its LTE network, but in a press release in May 2019 – to celebrate the 13th anniversary of its Haitian launch – CEO Maarten Boute noted: ‘We are on the cusp of a new and very important investment phase to equip the country with a modern 4G LTE network.’

Haiti, Digicel Haiti, Natcom