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Three companies apply for telecoms licences

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Keen to start: Gilbert “Artie” Darrell, founder of Horizon Communications

Competition may be about to heat up in Bermuda’s telecommunications sector with three companies seeking to join the market.Cable & Wireless Network Services, Horizon Communications and Paradise Mobile have applied for licences from the Regulatory Authority.Horizon and Paradise have each applied for an Integrated Communications Operating Licence. C&W is in line for a new type of licence, a SubCol, which would allow the firm to provide capacity from submarine cables to the island.The RA said all three companies were qualifying applicants according to its criteria and now the regulator is inviting the public, including other telecoms services providers, for their comments on the applications by May 29.“The RA preliminarily concludes that the applications received constitute qualifying applications for Icols,” the RA stated. “The RA proposes to grant Icols to both Horizon and Paradise. In light of C&W’s request, the RA also proposes to grant a more limited COL, in the form of a SubCOL, to C&W.”Horizon, which will operate as Wave Bermuda Ltd, is a startup led by Gilbert “Artie” Darrell. Mr Darrell said last night that Horizon “is excited to be qualified by the Regulatory Authority for a new telecommunications licence”.He added: “Horizon has built a highly detailed technical plan with a team that has extensive experience in technology and telecommunications. “We are hoping for a fast decision by the RA so that we can bring a competitive high-speed service and, once operational, employ over 30 people and bring much needed investment to Bermuda.”Horizon applied to provide internet service, IP television and VoIP services to residential and business customers via a fixed wireless and mobile network.Paradise wants to create a mobile network with a combination of prepaid and postpaid customers.The company “intends to train and invest in a skilled workforce by partnering with schools and colleges in technology training programmes”, the RA stated.The directors of Paradise Mobile Ltd are listed as Kareem Bikhit, Houssam Tabbara and Zlatko Zahirovic, all of Ontario, Canada.C&W, whose application state its group operates the largest fiberoptic submarine cable network in Bermuda and the Caribbean, wants to provide Icol licence holders with high-bandwidth leased services, IP capacity and ethernet.After gathering and considering public comments, the RA aims to finalise its preliminary report by June 5. It plans to release its final report and issue the licences to the three applicants by July 8.• To review the applications and submit comments to the RA, visit www.ra.bm, select the “Respond to an open public consultation” button on the homepage and submit your comments on before 11:59pm on May 29, 2020