Caricel network company was the first Jamaican company to get mobile spectrum licence

Symbiote Investments Limited operating under the name Caricel is a Jamaican owned and operated mobile network.Caricel began its life in March 2014 when Symbiote applied for a Carrier and Service Provider licence from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) in Jamaica. In February 2016, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) announced that a new mobile network operator licence was being considered by the Jamaican Government. Despite a change in administration between the announcement, on May 5, 2016, it was announced that a new network was approved by the government but it decided to withhold the operator’s name. Finally, on May 20, 2016, it was announced that Symbiote Investments Ltd was the operator that was awarded the licence and it would be operating under the name, Caricel. The company have invested over US$50 million in deployment since it start its operation in 2014. Caricel was the first Jamaican company to get mobile spectrum licence,(Symbiote Investments Ltd),was the first fully Jamaican-owned telecom company to be granted a local mobile spectrum licence, and said it will trade as Caricel.

The company informed the Jamaica Observer in 2016 that trading under the Caricel brand, it intends to bring “cutting-edge technology, lightning fast broadband speeds and serious innovation to the industry, so the Jamaican consumer will have first world products and services being provided by a Jamaican-owned and controlled company for the first time”.

Former Minister of Science and Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell referred to the approval of the new licensee at a press briefing at the PNP’s headquarters in Kingston but he did not name the company.
The Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, confirmed in a press release in 2019 that the government had approved the award of the mobile spectrum licence. Approval was granted by the cabinet and a payment schedule with terms was agreed by all parties involved.
“It is a win-win for the customer. We are proud to welcome a wholly owned Jamaican company, powered by Jamaicans, to the telecommunications industry,” Wheatley said.

“In light of the merger between Cable and Wireless and Columbus Communications, and soon Liberty Global, I take the opportunity to once again welcome tripartite competition to the mobile telecoms sector, as the increased choice will empower the consumer and force greater innovation from the sector,” Wheatley said.

In response, Symbiote Investments issued a release in which it said that it welcomed the news of the granting of the licence. The company assured that it will pay the full spectrum price,but four years later things took a downturn for caricel and the company is now trying to rectify the situation with authorities and its customers.

According to what is said on various site It is the first black owned operating internet provider company to have operated and completely owned by Jamaicans so a lot of Jamaicans were excited when it started its distribution. Here is what some of its customers had to say when they found out.

The fact that this new company is 100% Jamaican owned and operated means a lot to me. I am also looking forward to the new super fast LTE network that Caricel will be rolling out across the country.

If they can give provide affordable internet to students and the average citizen.. And not keep telling customers to pay for a month or two day data, then hoodwink you by the amount of data you use then … Sign me up!!

good move , lets step up the competition , telecoms cant be between 2 players.

The local ownership aspect of the new company should allow for greater market penetration than that other foreign owned telecom has been able to achieve .Cell phone use by Jamaicans is among the highest in the world so we should not be paying the type of rates for local calls being charged by Digicel.

Competition will drive down cost and improve service.

The Supreme Court denied an application for judicial review of the decision by then energy minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley, to revoke the telecommunications licence granted to Symbiote.
In 2017, Wheatley told Parliament that Symbiote had not complied with all the conditions that were attached to its domestic mobile spectrum licence, with the issues, including its failure to address the matter of outstanding fees.
Caricel was granted licences to operate in Jamaica by the Government in 2016.

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