LIME’s plan for growth
Telecommunications company Cable & Wireless (C&W) wants to grow its mobile services in Barbados and is likely to hold discussions with Government so it can “acquire more spectrum” to facilitate the expansion.
This was disclosed by LIME Caribbean chief executive officer Martin Roos, who told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY this was part of a plan to “reclaim the leadership in mobile” in the region.
“We are going to make sure we are in dialogue with Government on how we can acquire more spectrum, how we can continue the next wave of investments in the mobile network so we stay ahead of the curve, so we expand capacity before we end up in problems because so many people are using it,” Roos said.
“We are never going to put ourselves again in the position where we are behind the curve, we are going to be ahead of the curve.”
Wireless communication signals travel through the air via specitrum, also called radio frequency.
C&W trades as LIME in the Caribbean and is the longstanding service provider. The Barbados cellular market was liberalised in 2003 and Digicel, AT&T, and Sunbeach Communications acquired licences.
Sunbeach’s service never started, while Digicel purchased AT&T’s Barbados operation in 2005 after that company’s parent company was purchased by another international telecommunications giant Cingular Wireless.
While LIME and Digicel are the two cellular service providers, information from Government’s Telecommunications Unit up to September 8, also listed Sunbeach, and Ozone Communications Inc. as “licence holders”.
Sources explained that the challenge for companies like LIME and Digicel was the fact that the proliferation of smartphones and other electronic devices like tablets meant spectrum was being used up faster. The United States Federation Communications Commission estimates that smartphones use 24 times more data than “a traditional cell phone”, while tablets “can consume 122 times more data than old mobile phones.”
The Telecommunications Unit has listed a range of fees for “exclusive use of spectrum. . .for use with private and public telecommunications”. It ranges from a $200 application and $500 annual operation for 25 kilohertz or less to a $6 000 application fee, $20 000 annual operating fee for the first megahertz (MHZ) of occupied bandwidth and $500 per subsequent MHZ of occupied bandwidth or part thereof”.
Roos said LIME’s intention was to “leverage” the fact that it had different networks here and in the region.
“We are going to reclaim the leadership in mobile. Thanks to the fact that we are the incumbent in all places and we have the old fixed and broadband networks, we are going to tie those together with the mobile network and create fixed mobile convergence, the ability to create a more seamless experience,” he said.
“So if you want to leverage our fixed network or our broadband network and our mobile network that we can present that in a more integrated customer experience.”