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ASEP relaunches tender for new mobile licence

21 Apr 2023

Panama’s National Public Services Authority (Autoridad Nacional de los Servicios Publicos, ASEP) has relaunched its tender to replace Digicel Panama, after the sole bidder, General Internacional Telecom Panama (Gitpan), submitted insufficient documentation. The watchdog issued Resolution AN No. 18343-Telco on 10 April, relaunching the prequalification process. It clarifies that Gitpan ‘is authorised to participate and provide the documentation that was indicated by the Evaluation Commission’. The second prequalification period will remain open until 24 May 2023.

Previously, on 16 March 2023 Gitpan, a subsidiary of General International Telecom Limited, was named as the sole bidder for PCS licence (No.106), which was vacated by Digicel Panama last year. The 20-year licence includes 2×15MHz in the 1900MHz band (1850MHz-1865MHz/1930MHz-1945MHz) and 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band (738MHz-748MHz/793MHz-803MHz).

When announcing the initial tender, ASEP emphasised that it was seeking a licensee with strong credentials, rather than an untried player and stipulated that the successful applicant must have at least five years of experience as a mobile licensee in another market and serve no fewer than 500,000 mobile subscriptions. While Gitpan’s precise level of telecoms experience is unclear, in October 2021 General International Telecom Limited struck a deal with Telefonica Centroamerica Inversiones to acquire a 99.3% stake in Telefonica Moviles El Salvador for USD144 million. That deal closed in January 2022.

TeleGeography notes that General International Telecom Limited is a UK-based entity, incorporated in June 2021. According to its Companies House filings, the company’s director is a South Carolina-based lawyer named William Liston Pitman, while Cayman Islands-based Jaguar Fund was named as an initial shareholder.

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