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Government of Saint Lucia

 Statement on the Issuance of Licences for the Telecommunications Sector in St. Lucia by the Honourable Felix Finisterre - April 18, 2002

  • The process began with the creation of a World Bank supported OECS Telecommunications Sector Reform Project, an objective of which was to lead to the formation of ECTEL, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority, which was established by international treaty in May 2000, and is the agency charged with coordinating the liberalization process in the Participating States.

    A fundamental part of the liberalization process was the enactment of new legislation, in the form of the Telecommunications Act 2000 and its accompanying regulations, aimed at providing the legal/policy framework for the liberalisation process in St. Lucia.  An important function of this legislation was the establishment of the NTRC (National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission), which is the national regulatory body, designed to oversee the administration of the Act.

    In September 2001, application forms for licences were published.  Prospective applicants were invited to apply for a number of telecommunications services, which included:

  • A deadline of January 30, 2002, was announced for the submission of applications for individual licences, namely, Fixed Public, Public Mobile, International Simple Voice Resale, Public Radio Paging and Submarine Cable Services.

    Submissions were made to the NTRC, which were forwarded to ECTEL for review and assessment.

    ECTEL received 131 applications (32 coming from St. Lucia), of which, 78 of which were Applications for Fixed Public and Public Mobile Telecommunications Licences.

    The evaluation required satisfactory performance in four headings/criteria:

  • The ECTEL Board in evaluating the applicants established a gating criterion of a minimum of 65% performance.  Applicants achieving this score were then short listed for more in-depth consideration.

    Special consideration was given to companies whose business plans demonstrated an interest in and an ability to deliver a quality service, whilst treating the OECS region as a single telecommunications space.  This can basically be defined as treating, for telecommunications purposes, the sub-region as a single market.

    It is expected that this consideration would provide the sector with operators with comparable leverage to the incumbent, thus ensuring effective competition in the market and setting the stage for attaining more attractive local, regional and international rates to the benefit of St. Lucians.

    On the basis of careful consideration and discussions with our OECS counterparts on the shortlist of applicants submitted by ECTEL and supported by the recommendations of the NTRC, the Government of St. Lucia is now in negotiations with the following companies for the award of Fixed Public and Public Mobile Telecommunications Licences:



    GENSAT International SA


    AT&T Wireless Services

    Digicel Caribbean

    GENSAT International SA


    Although no local St. Lucian company was short-listed, these applicants are keen to ensure local public participation and have expressed a willingness to form partnerships with local businesses.  In further pursuit of this objective, the Government of St. Lucia is seeking to extract a commitment from all new entrants to the industry that they will provide mechanisms for local public participation, which would include a public offering for the purchase of shares.

    The selected companies have all shown that they have the necessary technical expertise and financial resources to meaningfully contribute to the development of our telecommunications sector and our country as a whole.  It is expected that the development of St. Lucia’s telecommunications sector through the availability and access to cost effective services and technology will have the following benefits

  • In concluding, it is necessary to recognise the tremendous contributions of my predecessor, Senator the Honourable Calixte George, ECTEL and the team at the Ministry for their vision, commitment and purpose in their efforts so far in the general pursuit of telecommunications liberalization,  and to thank them for the progress achieved thus far.

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    The Honourable Felix Finisterre

    Minister for Communications, Works, Transport & Public Utilities

    April 18, 2002

    In February 1998, St. Lucia and four other OECS territories, namely, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada and St. Vincent & the Grenadines had the shared goal of reforming our respective telecommunications sectors.  The reform process sought:

    to improve competitiveness,
    to improve access to telecommunications services and technology, and
    to encourage the growth of diverse business and entrepreneurial initiatives.
    Fixed Public Telecommunications Licence
    Public Mobile Telecommunications Licence
    International Simple Voice Resale Licence
    Public Radio Paging Telecommunications Licence
    Submarine Cable Licence
    Internet Service Provision Licence
    Private Network Telecommunications Licence
    Valued Added Services Licence.
    Legal – to determine that the applicants were valid legal entities and could be considered for the issue of licensees – this was used as the basic gating criterion.
    Financial – this constituted evaluating the source and availability of funding and looked at, in the case of going concerns, their performance indices.  New entrants were assessed on the basis of the validity of their business plans and management experience.
    Technical – here, engineering experience, availability of staff, appropriateness of proposed technology and equipment vendor support, were considered.
    Other – the main aspects considered here were community obligations and service provisions
    Increased foreign investment;
    Increased employment opportunities;
    Growth in local entrepreneurial enterprise, especially in the services sector;
    Creation of strong and vibrant Information Technology (IT) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors; and
    Our overall national development


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