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Trinidad Cancels Laqtel's Mobile License Over Upaid Fines

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago has terminated the mobile phone license which had been held by Laqtel. The company was granted a license for blocks of spectrum in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands at the end of 2005, but has had problems raising funds to pay for the license and roll out its network.

Although the regulator had internally agreed to cancel the operating license in January, Laqtel had appealed in February saying that it had secured new funding. The company was given until 10th March to comply with its obligations - but evidently was unable to raise the necessary funds in time, and the license has been cancelled.

The termination is effective immediately.

The license has required, among other things, that Laqtel launch a public domestic mobile telecommunications service with coverage of 50% of the geographic area of Trinidad and Tobago on or before 30th June 2006, increasing to 70% by 31st December 2006, and further to 98% coverage by 30th December 2009.

The concession also required that Laqtel post a Performance Bond in the amount of $4 million to secure the performance of its roll-out obligations under the concession. That bond was to be posted by 14th January 2006.

Laqtel, despite several reminders, failed to post the performance bond.

Last September the regulator laid charges against Laqtel for its failure to post the Performance Bond and last November, a legal ruling fined the company US$150,000 plus a futher US$10,000 per day until the fine was paid.

During a raid by the regulator at the offices of Laqtel over the weekend, police seized goods worth around US$970,000 - being the outstanding fine amount.

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Tags: qtel  800mhz  termination  Trinidad And Tobago