Regulatory Authority To Lift Freeze On ICOLs

April 7, 2019

Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban has directed the Regulatory Authority [RA] to “lift the moratorium on the grant of additional Integrated Communications Operating Licenses [ICOLs] and other forms of public Communications Operating Licenses [COLs],” the Government said this evening.

“This move will ultimately result in the opportunity for new entrants into the Bermuda telecommunications market,” explained Minister Roban. “This is in keeping with meeting this government’s objective of attracting inward investment, supporting economic diversification and growth, and creating jobs for Bermudians.

“In 2013, when the RA commenced its operations, there was a legislated moratorium placed on any new ICOLs. The rationale at that time was that there were already about 20 licensees at that point, and more would simply dilute the market even further.

“Over the years, with that moratorium in place, Bermuda has gone from a vibrant and competitive environment to one far less dynamic, and, arguably, less competitive – all through a series of mergers and acquisitions, where the electronic communications market has become an oligopoly, perhaps not serving the public as well as it might.

“Examining market conditions, I decided to direct the Regulatory Authority to lift the moratorium, ultimately reopening Bermuda’s electronic communications sector to accept new entrants into the market. ”

“Prior to granting the licences, the RA will hold a consultation period from April 5th to April 26th to gain feedback from the public regarding the criteria, conditions, requirements and procedures necessary to receive a COL or ICOL.

“Following the consultation period, the Authority will make decisions and recommendations to the Minister about the required policy and regulations.

“For more information and to provide feedback, the public is encouraged to visit the Regulatory Authority’s website at”

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Comments (7)

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  1. cho says:

    The RAB intervention has cost many hundreds of millions in M&A musical chairs – with little tangible improvement for Bermudians.
    So the remedy? More RAB??????

    • Tricia says:

      Yes, whenever govt. interfere in market place affairs, there’s always confusion and failure. Had they left it alone the most efficient and innovative would have emerged and been successful. It takes determination and effort to run a successful business – there’s never a time when you can sit back and do nothing.

      The cry “GIVE me a job” is asking others to do what you can’t be bothered to do for yourself. Government’s job is to make it possible for those with drive and brain power to succeed, not to get in their way.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Umm, look around Tricia. I’m not sure that is true in Bermuda anymore

  2. Question says:

    They obviously have an insider lined up.

    • aceboy says: doubt it will be announced soon in a big old press conference.

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    Don’t be so quick to blame the RAB. Remember the “Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban has directed the Regulatory Authority [RA] to lift the moratorium …”

    Perhaps the current shareholders of Ascendent (Belco) will invest their money in a new venture.

  4. Tricia says:

    Typical of government interference. Screws up the free market every time. Had they left it alone, the 20 or so licences would have sorted themselves out into the most efficient/cost effective and therefore successful, all judged by customers buying their services. Those who weren’t making their best effort would fall by the wayside. It takes determination and constant supervision to run a successful business, and there is never a time when you can sit back and do nothing.