Digicel has been granted a mobile licence to operate a GSM network in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
Denis O’Brien’s company is the fastest-growing mobile operator in the Caribbean and recently began to get a foothold in the Central American market through operations in El Salvador. It is also the largest mobile operator in the Caribbean region.
The licence in BVI comes after the liberalisation process initiated by the government there in early 2005.
BVI is expected to become Digicel’s 24th market and Digicel has earmarked US$15m for its initial investment. It aims to build a network with 100pc population coverage.
Initially, it will directly employ 20 people but is expected to create hundreds of indirect jobs. It is the third entrant into the BVI mobile market.
“Digicel’s goal is to become the No 1 mobile operator in the British Virgin Islands and we expect to rapidly roll out services in this market,” said Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves.
“BVI is a welcomed addition to our seamless pan-Caribbean network. We look forward to spurring competition, providing better coverage and better value to BVI mobile customers and visitors as well as being an active member of this community.”
BVI covers a group of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands, with the main islands being Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost van Dyke. It has a thriving tourist industry.
By Niall Byrne