COLM_DELVES_compressedKINGSTON, Jamaica, November 7, 2014 (AMG) — Telecommunications company Digicel has responded to an announcement by Cable & Wireless Communications of its plans to acquire Columbus International, raising concerns about unfair competition and the protection of consumer interests.

In a press statement issued today, Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves (pictured), stated; “We are naturally concerned to ensure that this proposed transaction will not result in an un-level playing field in the Caribbean.”

Cable & Wireless Communications, which trades in the Caribbean primarily as LIME, is Digicel’s main competitor in the regional telecoms market. With the proposed acquisition of Columbus International, LIME now adds a significant pay-TV operation and fibre network to its existing business, as well as 700,000 residential customers in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean region.

The following is Digicel’s statement in full:

Digicel notes today’s public announcement in relation to the proposed acquisition of Columbus International Inc (“Columbus”) by Cable and Wireless Communications Plc (CWC).

Although the full details of the proposed merger have not yet been made public, Digicel is naturally concerned about the clear and obvious challenges and potential issues posed by such a proposed move from a Regulatory and Competition perspective.

Digicel understands that the proposed acquisition will require significant regulatory approvals from a number of bodies in the region; including Ministerial approvals, approvals from Regulatory Bodies as well as approvals from certain anti-trust agencies.

Digicel looks forward to being provided with further details of the proposed transaction so as to allow it to make considered submissions to those bodies as is appropriate and necessary.

This proposed transaction raises a considerable number of issues for telecommunications regulation and competition generally in the region.

The issues that will need to be addressed include such matters as fairness in spectrum allocations, local loop unbundling, price bundling generally as well as a myriad of other likely issues which will only become apparent once Digicel and other agencies and bodies have been fully appraised of the details of the proposed transaction and the likely resultant impact on the telecoms market in the region.

Digicel is confident that the proposed transaction will be considered in the context of a transparent and fair process sponsored by the relevant agencies with responsibility for these matters and that it will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to engage in the approvals process given its status as a major telecommunications provider in the Caribbean region.

Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves, stated; “We are naturally concerned to ensure that this proposed transaction will not result in an un-level playing field in the Caribbean. We look forward to engaging constructively and responsibly with all relevant agencies and bodies to the fullest extent necessary to ensure that fair and vibrant competition is maintained in the Caribbean region and that the interests of all Caribbean consumers are fully protected.”

Digicel raises concerns over Cable & Wireless acquisition of Columbus International

Jovan Reid

Jovan Reid is AMG's consultant advisor on public policy and media advocacy, focusing on issues in public health, sustainability and climate change.

Category: BusinessTechnology