Minister of Infrastructure Development, Public Utilities and Energy, Gregory Bowen has broken his silence on a looming battle between the two major telecommunications companies on the island, FLOW Liberty Global and its competitor, Digicel over the granting of Long Term Evolution (LTE) license.
Speaking at a recent sitting of Parliament, Minister Bowen who is considered as the Number Two man in the Grenada government said that Lime is crying foul and believes that favouritism was shown to Digicel over it.
He told legislators that FLOW Liberty Global has filed legal action against the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) and possibly the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) requesting that the 700 band license be revoked.
According to the senior government minister, both Digicel and Flow had applied at the same time for the license but in the end only Digicel was granted the requested band.
“LIME/Liberty Flow, that combination, has constituted legal proceedings against the NTRC and possibly ECTEL because they have filed a complaint based on the fact that Digicel has been granted a license in the 700 band and Digicel is now moving speedily to move into the LTE Mode of service and they were not granted having applied at the same time (for) frequencies in the LTE spectrum”, he said.
“I would not elaborate on it, but just to let the public know that at the point in time when the applications were made, Digicel ended up with only (them) in that special band requested but LIME/FLOW Liberty that combination, had a clash for the same frequency with Aislecom and Aislecom and LIME were sent to see how (they) can find some accommodation for each other…”, he added.
Minister Bowen went on: “…The frequency or the band that was applied for by Digicel, other persons were there including LIME but then they came to an understanding and so since that band was free, it was given to Digicel but now they’re claiming, even requesting that the license be revoked from Digicel because of what we would call in local parlance favouritism.
“…Just to let the public know that both parties applied for the same frequency and so we didn’t want to impose the decision to say well you get it and you do not get it, so we asked them to go together and find a solution. They did not find a solution (and) because Digicel has moved ahead, they have now filed this (legal action) in court”.
The minister stated that he was still hopeful that this new development would not affect Digicel’s commitment to provide broadband internet services to all government-operated buildings on the island.
“We hope that it could work out quite amicably but we know what court cases can do and Digicel is now moving speedily to implement some $384 million PPP (arrangement) which includes a data centre for the government, connection for schools and connection for all government buildings not only in Grenada but Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia.
“…The public should be aware of this (court action) and we’ll just allow the process to take its course and we hope that nothing would go contrary to stop the big investment and the big development because education would be affected, people would be affected if we revoke the license and we would only do this on a court order but we hope that everything works out well.