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Gitpan still in the hunt for vacated Digicel licence in Panama

25 May 2023

Prequalification for the second tender to replace Digicel Panama closed yesterday (24 May), with the National Public Services Authority (Autoridad Nacional de los Servicios Publicos, ASEP) confirming that General Internacional Telecom Panama (Gitpan) remains the sole interested party. Previously, Gitpan – a subsidiary of General International Telecom Limited – was named as the only bidder for PCS licence (No.106) on 16 March 2023, only to fall foul of the authorities after submitting insufficient documentation. If Gitpan’s new paperwork is deemed appropriate, ASEP will be able to request cabinet approval to embark on negotiations with the would-be licensee. The 20-year licence – which was vacated by Digicel Panama last year – 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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