Categorized | Business, National News

Selection Process for Cellular Bidding Outlined

The Cellular Liberalisation Taskforce is now accepting Request for Proposals (RFP) for anyone wanting to bid for the second license to provide cellular service in the country, but officials said the anticipated competitive process will be done in two phases and will be have some hefty fees attached.

The taskforce’s Communications Policy Advisor Michelle Grell-Bereaux said bidders wanting to register for the RFP there will be a $5,000 fee to collect the RFP package and if a bidder has decided that they want to submit a proposal the fee for that is $25,000.

Mrs. Grell-Bereaux also fleshed out the details of the selection process and explained that The it meets three criteria; it is open, calling on bidders from potential suppliers both in The Bahamas and around the world; it is fair, being based on objective, measurable criteria and it is transparent, meeting the highest standards of accountability – and independence.

“The first step in the process will be an assessment of proposals received in response to the RFP which will take into account the technical and financial capabilities of bidders,” officials said. “This assessment will be conducted by a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary evaluation committee with a wide range of skill sets (technical, legal, and financial). The evaluation committee will only select qualified bidders from this phase to advance to the second phase, which will be the spectrum auction and will be administered by The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA).

“At the end of the selection process the successful applicant will be the one deemed to have met all of the requirements of both phases, as set out in the RFP.”

In submitting their proposals, taskforce members said bidders will likely be sharing commercially confidential information about their business plans.

“To protect the integrity of our process, we must preserve the confidentiality of these bidders,” they add. “For this reason, we cannot share the detailed criteria we are requiring bidders to meet. We anticipate, however, that the successful bidder will have done the best job of demonstrating that it would enable Bahamians to achieve majority equity ownership of the new cellular provider; ensure reliable access to cellular service across all The Bahamas; provide international standards for network connectivity and download speeds and introduce more affordable prices to bring The Bahamas in line with international benchmarks.”

Mrs. Grell-Bereaux said once this second provider is identified we can all expect the services to roll out within six months and full coverage across The Bahamas within two to three years.

Deputy Chair Rowena Bethel further explained how the process will work for others wanting to enter the market.

“In 2016 the law gives the government the option to consider the entrance of a third licensee into the market,” She explained. “But of course all of the prevailing factors and circumstances would be brought to bear before a determination of that type would be made.

“But the government has the option in 2016 to consider a third option not that it’s going to happen.”

The RFP deadline is February 11, 2015.

The taskforce has projected a timeframe for the selection of a successful candidate by the end of April 2015.

Ianthia Smith

Written by Ianthia Smith

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