JIS News

The government yesterday (March 9) granted a fourth mobile licence to Wireless Ventures Jamaica Limited, a subsidiary of the United States AT&T Wireless to provide telecommunication services in Jamaica. The spectrum licence was awarded at a cost of $360 million and will see a total of $1 billion being invested in its first 12 months of operation in the island.
The licence also represents a boost to the tourism sector, as AT&T wireless customers from the United States will be able to enjoy the convenience of using their own mobile devices while in the island. According to a statement by the president of AT&T Wireless International, Jordan Roderick, “this gives business travellers and tourists one more reason to visit Jamaica”.
In a ceremony to sign and hand over the licence to AT&T, Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell commended the telecommunications giant “for their positive endorsement of Jamaica as a viable investment opportunity and for recognising the untapped potential, which continues to exist in this industry”. This, he said was noteworthy in light of the widely held view that the domestic market was saturated.
“AT&T has chosen to invest at a time when the cost of acquiring customers is higher (and) the cost of deploying a network in the 900 band is far higher than for the bands occupied by other licensees and at a time when the available spectrum is at its lowest,” Minister Paulwell said.
He further welcomed AT&T’s “spirit of partnership” pointing out that the company had committed itself to using its network to support the government’s electronic-learning project in schools. According to him, details of the company’s partnership in this venture were still being worked out, but noted that they would be making provisions for cash or kind (computers) to the project and would be helping to facilitate the availability of greater bandwidth in schools.
The partnership will further see AT&T giving a boost to the tourism sector by including promotional material on Jamaica in their advertising campaigns.
AT&T licence represents the company’s 16th operation in the Caribbean. Director for International Business Development for the company, Carmen Forsman said that as the second largest wireless carrier in the US with approximately 23 million subscribers, AT&T would be able to promote Jamaica as a tourism destination. She added that the company was capable of providing value added services that would make their offerings different from that of other carriers in Jamaica.
“The development of the Jamaican market is integral to AT&T Wireless’ strategy of extending our North American footprint into key markets where our customers work, live, travel and play,” she said.

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