Rock Mobile eyes Jamaican mobile launch

29 Jan 2021

A new telecoms operator owned by Bruce Bowen – the former head of Scotiabank Jamaica – and his wife, Suzanne Fernando-Bowen, is finalising plans to enter the Jamaican mobile market, the Jamaica Gleaner reports. The newcomer has signposted its intention by contacting the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) in response to its Spectrum Cap Consultation – launched late last year – to argue in favour of the equitable distribution of spectrum within the Jamaican market, to help new players gain a foothold. The company argued: While Rock does not object to the proposed spectrum screen at this time, it is urging the SMA to focus on maintaining a competitive landscape of which entry of new operators is a critical element.’

The report notes that Rock Mobile is owned by Rock Capital Partners Limited, a company registered in Jamaica in June 2017 and owned by the Bowens. When contacted by the Gleaner, Mr Bowen declined to go into detail about Rock Mobile’s business model, but promised to offer more information further down the line.

TeleGeography notes that the last company to try and disrupt the long-standing Digicel-Flow duopoly was the ill-fated 4G start-up Symbiote Investments (Caricel), which paid USD20.8 million for a 700MHz licence back in 2016. The licence was revoked by the government two years later, amid takeover rumours and legal wrangles.