SMA hails spectrum auction as a success; minister reviewing bid

17 May 2021

Dr Maria Myers-Hamilton, the managing director at Jamaica’s Spectrum Management Authority (SMA), has informed the Jamaica Gleaner that the country’s recent tender for a 700MHz was a success, and a final decision will be made on the winning bidder in due course. Dr Myers-Hamilton commented: ‘The good news is that the auction was successful, and we now have in front of the minister a recommendation for a possible third player in the market.’ As per the bidding documents, the winning applicant will be required to spend more than JMD2.25 billion (USD14.75 million) on rolling out 4G infrastructure.

In related news, Dr Myers-Hamilton has revealed that Technology Minister Daryl Vaz is also reviewing applications from incumbent mobile players Flow and Digicel, both of whom have requested additional spectrum to increase capacity on their saturated networks. She said: ‘A full analysis of the application has to be done. The fact is, yes, there is a deficit in terms of the spectrum and, yes, we recognise it, and we are working in a collaborative mode with all stakeholders to ensure we get a win-win.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the vacant 700MHz concession will comprise a 2×10MHz block of 4G-suitable spectrum and be valid for 15 years. Interested bidders were obliged to submit a ‘technical proposal’ and a ‘financial proposal’ for the licence, with the latter fee committed in US dollars. Bidding closed on 23 March. The winning bidder will replace ill-fated former 700MHz licensee Caricel, which operated between 2016 and 2020.

Jamaica, Spectrum Management Authority (SMA)