ST.JOHN’S Antigua, June 13th, 2019 – In light of recently published statements regarding the government’s move towards equitable distribution of spectrum in Antigua & Barbuda, APUA wishes to clarify assertions made by Digicel that seem to have misleading intent.
Spectrum is the term given to radio frequencies allocated to the mobile industry and other sectors for communication over the airwaves. It is divided into frequency bands, and the lower bands allow for greater indoor signal strength. Currently, there are two low-frequency bands that can be used for 3G voice calls in Antigua. Digicel possesses all of one band and Digicel and Flow share the other. Essentially this spectrum is being hoarded by two entities and it limits the capacity of APUA and any other entrant to the market operating a 3G voice network thereafter to offer indoor coverage that can satisfy the needs of consumers. APUA does not wish to perpetuate the inequitable hoarding of this resource; it simply intends to acquire a portion of this premium spectrum that has remained exclusively in the hands of international service providers for decades.
The claim that APUA has been allocated spectrum in excess of what other operators have been given is completely false. The company has been afforded no advantages in this area. The lower and higher bands that have been recently allocated to the organisation cannot be utilised effectively for any voice services that APUA currently offers. On the contrary, if the spectrum allocations prior to 2018 were examined, one would conclude that Digicel was being treated as the national carrier.
APUA further wishes to refute assertions made in the public that it operates as a regulator. The use of spectrum among service providers in Antigua and Barbuda is regulated by the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Information and Technology. APUA operates within the telecommunication market solely as a service provider.
In 2018, APUA retired its 2G infrastructure to make way for improved quality for a wider range of mobile services. The launch of the inet Mobile network was a catalyst for the only indigenous mobile service provider offering services on par with international standards.
APUA wishes to be an equal beneficiary of resources which are necessary to operate in a competitive market and meet the demands of its customers. Our motive is simply to share in the lucrative telecommunication market in order that the people of this country share the benefits instead of the benefits being repatriated to the already wealthy individuals.