Turks and Caicos: E-Commerce
In January 2006, Cable and Wireless (now called Lime) yielded to pressure by giving up the last six years of its monopoly in the Islands, and signed a new 15-year license agreement under the Telecommunications Ordinance 2004 and the Telecommunications and Frequency Licensing Regulations 2005. C&W has put a brave face on the loss of its monopoly, and congratulated the government on its liberalized regime.
Communications Minister, McAllister Hanchell, said that the liberalisation would see more players enter the market and boost access to communications services.
The first of these new players was Digicel, the pan-Caribbean mobile telecommunications firm, which announced in April 2006 that it had been granted a license to establish a GSM cellular network in the jurisdiction. Licences have also been awarded to Andrews Communications Ltd, and Islandcom.
Commenting on the move, Jeffrey Hall, Turks & Caicos Minister of Communications, stated that: “We welcome Digicel and its dynamic approach to business in Turks and Caicos. The benefits Digicel has created in other Caribbean markets will help bring cutting edge technology to the telecommunications sector, while making a significant contribution towards the development of our tourism, financial services and local businesses."
The government is encouraging information technology operations and there is clear interest being shown in offshore e-commerce development.
In 2004 the government formed a TCI Telecommunications Commission as part of a drive to implement and oversee changes in the modernising of the telecommunications industry including the introduction of competition in the domestic market.
The Telecommunications Commission carries out the functions conferred on it by the Telecommunications Ordinance 12 of 2004. It serves to advise the Minister on telecommunications; regulate telecommunications in the Islands; promote effective and sustainable competition in telecommunications; set standards for the quality of telecommunications services; promote the interests of consumers and to encourage licensees to operate efficiently; publish information, reports or other documents; carry out investigations and hold enquiries; and police anti-competitive practice or behaviour.
See below for specific information on e-commerce in Turks & Caicos, or go to Offshore-e-com.com for an extensive analysis of the commercial possibilities and the legal background.