Government predicts long drawn out case with Flow and Digicel

Melford Nicholas

The Antigua and Barbuda government says it expects the High Court matter involving the two foreign telecommunications companies objecting to the plan to share the 850 megahertz spectrum with the state-owned utility company to “be heard over several years”.

A government statement said that the matter had been discussed during the Cabinet meeting earlier this week and that three lawyers representing the state had been “invited to advise on the most appropriate defence which ought to be adopted” in the case brought by Digicel and Flow.

Last month, the Irish-owned telecommunications company, Digicel, defended its decision to secure a High Court order preventing the government from confiscating any of the 850 MHz spectrum it has been allocated.

Digicel said that it had taken the legal action because it wanted to shield its customers from “significant service disruption and a negative impact on coverage.”

The government is hoping that the High Court will bring about a resolution to the opposition by Digicel and Flow, formerly the British telecommunication giant, Cable and Wireless, to share the island’s spectrum with the state-owned Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA).

Digicel claims that APUA has almost twice as much spectrum as either of the other two operators in the market, despite having less than 25 per cent.

“APUA is hoarding a scarce and valuable resource,” the statement said, adding “in any other market, this would be a cause for concern for the regulator, but uniquely in Antigua & Barbuda, APUA is also the Regulator”.

In the statement, the Gaston Browne government said that the two telecommunications firms “are seeking to estop the Cabinet from dividing the 850 megahertz spectrum among Digicel, Flow and APUA/INET equally.

“The Cabinet accepted the proposed defence put forward by the legal team, although there is certainty that this matter will continue to be heard over several years, by several levels of the courts, before a final decision is rendered,” the statement noted.

It said that the Cabinet had further decided to bring before the Parliament at its next sitting The Telecommunications Bill 2019.

“The bill has been in draft form for several years; it had its first reading before, and has been through multiple consultations with stakeholders. The next sitting of Parliament will take place on June 20, 2019, when that Telecommunications Bill will have its second and third readings,” the statement added.

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]


  1. Ok, show the public which section each company has allocated for us to understand; Knowledge is power.

    • Even tell why the 850 MHz band is so important, it’s not like there’s no other spectrum available. I’m fact, the 4 g bands that Digicel use are the most obscure in the world. It’s like they choose this band to force you to buy an overpriced phone from them, or import an even more expensive iPhone


    Not sure if such ‘…Daunting Expectations,’ is to be entertained. Judicial officers shall learned from the scathing attack on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) by the London Privy Council (JCPC) in the ‘…Antigua Power Company (APC) v Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) [HCVAP: 2009/006: Paragraph 61:CASEMINE: 23 July, 2013].

    The Executive shall not paint a ‘…damning picture of institutionalized or chronic ‘…tardiness; …inordinate delays in dispensing judicial matters by the Judiciary.’

    The ‘JCPC’ looked at the ‘…22 months inordinate delay’ in handing down Judgment as ‘…denial of justice’ [Paragraph 61].

    Sure officers of the ‘…Court of First Instance’ could be wincing at the suggestion that the case will be ‘…heard over several years.’

    Be careful of your expressions Minister. Avoid public perceptions of ‘…misguidedness.’

  3. APUA will lose the case and it’s the Antiguan & Barbudan citizens taxes that will pick up the bill. “Twice as much band width” yet they have not demonstrated full use of it or a need to expand.

  4. FLOW Cable needs to go.. it full of crap. Too much Spanish in the Channels.

    This is not a Spanish speaking country, our NATIVE tongue is “ENGLISH”.

    Your wire service was better, this digital one is a MAJOR rip-off, soo many channels and no stability…. pure spanish inna ALL de channels.

    The government, please listen to the cries of the people of Antigua and Barbuda. Step in on FLOW Cable service provider.

    HELP US!! We are paying more for less.

Comments are closed.