02 Dec Caribbean telecom watchdog to probe CWC-Columbus deal – Caribbean
Caribbean telecom authority Ectel has warned that the acquisition of Columbus International by Cable & Wireless (CWC) could be in breach of their licenses if they were to engage in activities that prevented or distorted competition, Antigua Observer reported.
The watchdog said the merger could have a negative impact on the telecoms sector, as CWC’s increased dominance could damage the benefits brought in by the liberalization of the market. Ectel will review the information submitted by CWC, as well as current regulations and legislation regarding competition.
Rival Digicel said in a statement that it welcomed the investigation. “Digicel confirms its willingness and desire to engage with Ectel and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions such that a proper rigorous review of the telecommunications markets and the proposed acquisition can be undertaken,” the company said.
Digicel had expressed its opposition to the merger since its announcement.
According to Digicel, CWC and Columbus stated that regulatory approvals would only be required in the US, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Digicel considered the statement an “insult” to the authorities of Caribbean countries, particularly Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
CWC announced its intention to purchase the totality of Columbus International for US$1.85bn in November.