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Rock Mobile secures new Jamaican licence

19 May 2021

Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz has announced that locally owned Rock Mobile has been selected to become the country’s third mobile operator. Vaz said that the Cabinet took the decision ‘with lightning speed’ and the newcomer will be obliged to launch commercial operations within twelve months of the receipt of its licence. The licence will specify the provision of 95% population coverage, and the company should be ‘fully operational’ within two years. Coverage criteria will be strictly monitored, with Vaz adding: ‘Simply put: use the licence or lose it.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Rock Mobile first threw its hat into the ring for the new licence in January this year. The company is owned by Bruce Bowen – the former head of Scotiabank Jamaica – and his wife, Suzanne Fernando-Bowen. TeleGeography notes that, as per Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) documentation, Rock Mobile has been in possession of ISP, Carrier, International Service Provider and Domestic Voice Service Provider licences since 5 June 2020.

The vacant 700MHz concession comprises a 2×10MHz block of 4G-suitable spectrum and will 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 and the bidding window closed on 23 March. Rock Mobile will replace ill-fated former 700MHz licensee Caricel, which operated between 2016 and 2020.

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