The island’s newest telecommunications company, Ozone Wireless Inc., says it turned down an offer for it to acquire the fibre network assets that came out of the merger of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) and Columbus International Inc. more than two years ago.
And it has indicated it has no interest in offering fixed-line services at this time.
When the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) issued its decision on the CWC acquisition and merger with Columbus back in March 2015, it included 14 conditions, including that the merged company divest one set of the fibre cables in the zones where the LIME and Flow networks overlapped.
It was found there were 55,000 homes with an overlapping network that should have been offloaded to a new market entrant.
Ozone’s Director of Network Operations Glenn Thorpe told Barbados TODAY his company was approached to take over the assets, but it declined to do so because it was simply not interested in fixed-line operations.
Ozone, which was issued with a licence three years ago and officially started its operations on Monday, offers only mobile services.
“We would have been approached in terms of looking at the fixed-line assets, but we are concentrating on mobile now. We believe that device in the palm of your hand will be able to do your voice, video, if you please, and all of the data you want to consume. So, today we are not interested in the wire-line market,” Thorpe told Barbados TODAY.
A few months after the FTC approval for the CWC-Columbus deal, CWC’s Chief Executive Phil Bentley had reported that the company had received 14 expressions of interest in the assets, from local and international entities.
However, three years after a new entity was established to monitor the management of the divested assets – CWC-Columbus Assets Holdings Inc. –, a purchaser is yet to come forward.
Following the establishment of the holding company after CWC failed to find a suitable buyer within the allotted time, the FTC had appointed Michael Forde as trustee with responsibility for monitoring the management of the divested assets in accordance with the merger application between CWC and Columbus.
Any company or companies interested in acquiring the divested assets must be approved by the FTC before divestment can occur.