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Four Companies Interested in Jamaican WiMAX Licenses

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Four companies have expressed an interest in securing a WiMAX license in Jamaica, although only three licenses are available. An unnamed source at the Spectrum Management Authority told the local Jamaica Gleaner newspaper that while Digicel Jamaica is one of the bidders, the other three companies could not be identified.

Digicel Jamaica has often said that it would like a WiMAX license in the 2.5Ghz to compliment its existing 3.5Ghz network, so its interest in the license tender is hardly surprising. Digicel selected Israeli telecommunications equipment maker Alvarion in April as the main supplier for its WiMAX deployment in the region.

Pan-Caribbean operator, Digicel - controlled by Irishman Denis O'Brien is also facing increased competition in Jamaica as America Movil plans to ramp up its local subsidiary, MiPhone, which it purchased last August.

The tender process is only open to incumbent licensed telecoms operators, although new entrants could approach an existing license holder for a partnership.

Danville Davidson, acting general manager for the SMA, says that the 2.5 GHz is the preference of anyone who is serious about providing good wireless broadband services. "The 3.5 GHz has issues in that it is unable to penetrate some walls; the 2.5 GHz, has no such issue," Davidson told the newspaper.

Estimates from the Mobile World for the end of the first quarter of this year report that Digicel is currently the largest mobile operator in Jamaica, with an estimated 1.8 million subscribers. Former incumbent operator C&W has around 700,000 customers - but this is hampered by the fact that 270,000 of its customers are still using two legacy AMPS and TDMA networks. MiPhone, a CDMA operator which plans to build a GSM overlay network trails with 251,000 subscribers.

On the web: Mobile World - Jamaica Gleaner

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Tags: cdma  wimax  america movil  digicel  alvarion  wimax license  tdma  Jamaica