August 22, 2005

Dominica Endorses Digicel Plans To Acquire Cingular

From All Headline News:

Roseau, Dominica (AHN) - Dominica officials announce the Caribbean country is endorsing Digicel's plans to implement Cingular Wireless' operations in their region.

Final and complete approval will be decided at a meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority Council of Ministers on Saturday.

Dominica, with a population of 70,000 people, has three mobile phone providers, including Cingular.
Dominica Telecommunications Minister Reginald Austrie says, "It is in the best interest of the consumers to grant a license to Digicel. There will be greater competition for market survival. That means lower prices and improved quality of service."

Irish-owned Digicel Group announced plans in June to expand its nine-country Caribbean network by acquiring Cingular's operations in five other nations.

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August 19, 2005

Prosser Loses, Belize Wins in Miami Court

From the St. Thomas Source:

Aug. 16, 2005 -- A federal judge in Miami ruled Tuesday that she had no objection to the Belize government's seizure earlier this year of Belize Telecommunications Ltd. (BTL) from Jeffrey Prosser’s Innovative Communications Corp.

The judge affirmed the seizure; lifted a temporary injunction against the government of Belize (GOB), which she had issued earlier at Prosser’s request; and awarded "nominal" damages to ICC on a minor issue in the complex case.

ICC--which owns Innovative Telephone, formerly Vitelco--is one of the largest corporate employers in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Funds borrowed from Vitelco had been used by ICC in the Belizean phone company deal.

Prosser’s control of BTL had been based on a $28.5 million payment, the assumption of the debts of a failed Belizean telecom firm, and the issuance of a promissory note for another $57 million. When the $57 million was not forthcoming, the Belize government seized the phone company and Prosser sued in the Miami courts. Earlier, the Belize government had agreed to submit itself to the jurisdiction of that court in order to secure a loan, financing the deal, from a Florida bank.

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Dominica OKs Digicel-Cingular deal

From BusinessWeek online:

AUG. 18 11:51 A.M. ET Dominica has endorsed Digicel's plans to acquire Cingular Wireless' operations in the Caribbean country, an official said Thursday.

Full approval is expected at a meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority Council of Ministers on Saturday, said Dominica Telecommunications Minister Reginald Austrie.

The island of 70,000 people has three mobile phone providers, including Cingular.

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Digicel Trials Teleglobe for Hosted Application Managed Roaming Service for Intelligent Roaming Selection; Digicel Now Able to Intelligently Assign Their Outbound Roamers onto Preferred Visited GSM Networks around the World

HAMILTON, Bermuda--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 17, 2005--Teleglobe International Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:TLGB) and the Digicel Group, the fastest growing mobile telecommunications provider in the Caribbean, today announced that Digicel Caribbean will use Teleglobe's hosted application Managed Roaming service on a trial basis, enabling Digicel Caribbean to intelligently assign their outbound roamers onto preferred visited GSM networks around the world.

Digicel has been a Teleglobe customer since its flagship launch in Jamaica in 2001. The dynamic company now operates in eight Caribbean countries with licenses recently secured in Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti and announced plans, subject to regulatory approval, to acquire Cingular's Caribbean and Bermuda operations.

Teleglobe's Managed Roaming service will enable Digicel to assign a traveling subscriber onto a specific visited network. Digicel may specify the visited network that provides the best delivery of the home network suite of services, improving the customer experience and increasing use of these services, and/or the preferred tariff terms for roaming, contributing to better average margin per user, or AMPU.

The Managed Roaming application runs on a platform that is centrally located on Teleglobe's premises, which will allow Digicel to rely on a service rather than investing in a system of its own. Digicel will remain in full control as they remotely manage traveling subscribers' registration onto preferred visited networks via a secure web-based interface to Teleglobe's Managed Roaming application.

"Digicel is continually looking at ways to enhance its services in order to deliver more value added to our customers and so looks forward to trialing Teleglobe's global managed roaming service," says Ian Marwood, Digicel Group Carrier Services Director. "We believe that by establishing special arrangements with specific roaming partners and ensuring that subscribers are directed to these networks our customers will enjoy significant benefits."

"We are very pleased that Digicel has chosen to trial Teleglobe's global managed roaming service," said Barry MacCheyne, Vice President of Wireless Global Sales. "Our service will allow Digicel to better-manage their roaming business while effectively controlling their costs, and enhancing the customer experience."

The feature-rich Managed Roaming service empowers the home network GSM operator to preferentially select the network for their outbound subscribers. Out-roaming subscribers are directed onto partner and/or preferred networks where advantageous roaming agreements have been established or best service selections can be assured. Margin control while roaming can be achieved through the use of dynamic preferred versus random network assignment. In addition to the cost benefits, the controlled selection of networks ensures improved customer service and satisfaction.

Managed Roaming and other hosted offerings to follow build upon Teleglobe's current signaling services to over 400 GSM operators worldwide, and uses a well-proven highly reliable signaling network that spans over 225 countries. Teleglobe hosts the Managed Roaming application on a rigorously managed, fault tolerant, scalable and open signaling architecture. The service offers the flexibility to either a single mobile operator or a group of operators to apply visited network preference plans on a location-specific basis - by country, region, state or city.

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August 17, 2005

PSC to appeal judge's decision on telephone network access

From the VI Daily News:

ST. THOMAS - The V.I. Public Services Commission plans to appeal a District Court judge's opinion directing the PSC to revisit its 2001 decision denying Choice Communication's request to have access to Innovative Telephone's network.

Commissioners will also request more time from District Judge Stanley Brotman, who ruled that the PSC must submit a response to his opinion by mid-September, PSC attorney Michael Dunston said Thursday.

Filing an appeal with the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals does not change the court-ordered deadline, so a stay must also be filed with in District Court to request more time to respond, he said at the PSC's monthly meeting.

Dunston said that Innovative Telephone also has filed an appeal to Brotman's opinion.

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Staying in touch while at sea

From USAToday:

Keeping in touch with your office, family and even world news while at sea is more convenient and affordable than ever. From Internet access to CNN to the dawn of on-ship cellphone use, it's your call on how best to stay abreast of developments in the real world while you relax at sea. Traditional phone calls

The majority of modern, large cruise ships have in-cabin calling for passenger use. This technology uses satellites and enables passengers to make and receive calls from the privacy of their cabin. Generally there is a binder or handbook in each cabin that lists the phone rates. Calls are charged by the minute and rates vary per cruise line. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line charges $5.95 per minute for satellite calls while Crystal Cruises' rate is $9.50 per minute. All outgoing calls are billed to a passenger's onboard account. Since communication is conducted via satellite, guests cannot use calling cards, credit cards, toll free numbers nor make collect calls.

While you can make direct calls from the telephone in your cabin, incoming calls have to go through the ship's main phone line. Thus, the person calling you will also be charged for the time it takes for the call to go through the main switchboard until it reaches you directly in your cabin. The caller needs to inform the operator the name of the ship and the person they're trying to reach. The charges for incoming calls are generally applied to the caller's credit card.

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PM to open conference

From the Barbados Advocate:

The Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados and a leading exponent of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) is to officially open the Annual Caribbean Business-to-Business Exhibition and Conference In November.

This important three-day event is the first of its kind not just in Barbados, but across the Caribbean, bringing, as it does, six leading experts from the United Kingdom in business growth and development who are lecturing over three days, November 2-4.

Premier Event Services of Barbados are organising the event on behalf of Marsden Grant International, the events producers and promoters who are based in London. The principal sponsor is Cingular Wireless and the event is supporting the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT).

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August 12, 2005

AMD's 50x15 PC hits Jamaica

From Cnet:

Cheap, no-frills PCs with Internet access in Jamaica? Very Irie mon!

Advanced Micro Devices said this week that it teamed with Cable & Wireless to offer the specially designed computers called the Max Personal Internet Communicator (PIC) bundled with Cable & Wireless' high speed service.

080905box_200x139.jpgThe green and grey chassis is about the size of a tissue box, weighs 3 pounds and runs on a 400 MHz AMD Geode GX 533 processor that uses 1.1 watts of power. The device also comes with a 3 1/2" internal hard disk drive with 10GB capacity, four USB ports, internal 56K v.92 modem, a mouse and a keyboard. Monitors are sold separately.

AMD said its PIC operates using Microsoft's Windows CE 5.0 kernel with an XP extender so that users can access XP-based applications.

Prices for the Jamaican version of the PIC were not disclosed. AMD said it lets Internet service providers (ISP) call the price, but AMD has sold the PIC with other ISPs for $249 with a 15" VGA monitor and $185 without.

The computer is part of AMD's 50x15 (pronounced fifty by fifteen) campaign. The goal, according to AMD is to connect 50 percent of the world's population to the Internet by the year 2015.

Even though Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands are two of the most Internet-connected countries in the Caribbean, the vast majority of citizens still do not have Internet access, AMD said. Less than 23 percent of Jamaica's population is connected and only 19 percent of British Virgin Islands citizens have Web access.

AMD has similar offers in the Caribbean including the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Turks, Caicos, Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica.

Sorry but this thing looks like a dog with fleas to me. Its a computer, but it isn't a computer. No ethernet, no wireless capabilities, tiny hard drive, confusing set up - how this is supposed to work (as a business case) is beyond me. Some commentor on Cnet wants to know when it will be available in the states - why? This is oviously a developing nation machine - with no frills, bells, whistles or exapandibility. A rival for the Mac mini? Give me a break! The mini blows this thing away - the software (OS X Tiger and iLife) on the mini alone is worth more than the price of one of these AMD boxes. I mean you can get a Dell Dimension, with a 17" monitor and runnning XP Home Edition for $299!

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August 11, 2005

T&T firm vows to whip Digicel

From the Jamaica Observer:

Digicel Jamaica will face a fierce three-way battle for the Trinidadian market, with its two competitors vowing to disallow the Irish firm from replicating in the twin island republic, the quick success it had in taking control of the Jamaican market.

One of those competitors, LaqTel Ltd, as well as Digicel, earlier this year secured the two mobile licences auctioned by the T&T government. The third licence is held by the quasi-sate-run telecoms, TSTT, a 49/51 partnership between the T&T government and Cable & Wireless PLc. That firm is the current monopoly service provider.

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August 10, 2005

Get Vonage!

Caribbean-On-Line is now an official affiliate of Vonage, the VOIP company (no easy task to get approved for this program). If you were/are thinking about giving Vonage a try click on the ad below - we highly recommend their service. Thanks -

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AMD and Cable & Wireless Launch Max Personal Internet Communicator With Internet Service in Jamaica; Jamaica Consumers Offered More Secure, Affordable and Easy-to-Use Access to the Web

Expanding the reach of broadband Internet access in theCaribbean, AMD (NYSE:AMD) today joined Cable & Wireless in launchingthe Max Personal Internet Communicator (PIC) in Jamaica. Bundled withCable & Wireless' High Speed Internet service, the Max PIC providesconsumers with an affordable and reliable means of communicating withfamily and friends, improving education and productivity, expandingentertainment, and maximizing the many ways Internet access canimprove efficiency and enhance lives.
The PIC is a new category of Internet access devices running aMicrosoft(R) Windows(R)-powered operating system and designed toprovide managed Internet connectivity and basic computing capabilitiessuch as a Web browser, e-mail, productivity tools (e.g. wordprocessing and spreadsheet applications) and the ability to viewimages and multimedia files. PICs are easy to maintain and aredesigned to help resist viruses, adware and spyware that cansignificantly lower cost of maintenance.

The introduction of the Max PIC in Jamaica signifies a continuedexpansion of Cable & Wireless Internet access offerings in the region.The Max PIC is now available in the British Virgin Islands, CaymanIslands, Anguilla, Turks, Caicos, Barbados, St. Kitts & Nevis, St.Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Antigua & Barbuda and Dominica.

"We need to radically alter access to ICT facilities and make itas universally available as possible and not just limited to areas ofprivilege," said Rodney Davis, President & CEO of Cable & WirelessJamaica. "In other words, we need to increase our efforts at bridgingthe digital divide. This is why Cable & Wireless has set itself amandate of providing access to ICT for as many Jamaicans as possible."

Even though Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands are two of themost Internet-connected countries in the Caribbean, the vast majorityof citizens still do not have Internet access. Less than 23 percent ofJamaica's population is connected and only 19 percent of BritishVirgin Islands citizens have Web access.

"Our collaboration with AMD and Cable & Wireless has resulted in aproduct that enables people to tap into the immense cultural,educational, and economic opportunities that are available throughcomputing and Internet connectivity," said Tom Phillips, GeneralManager, Windows Hardware and Emerging Markets, Windows Client Groupat Microsoft. "Through partnership and innovation, Microsoft iscommitted to making a difference to people and communities through thevalue and empowerment software and technology can deliver."

"AMD is working with technology leaders to deliver the power ofthe Web to individuals who, until this point, have not had access tothe Internet," said Iain Morris, senior vice president, MicroprocessorSolutions Sector, AMD. "Working with Cable & Wireless and ourdevelopment partners to deploy the Max PIC across the Caribbean is yetanother step toward achieving our collective vision of connecting 50percent of the world's population to the Internet by 2015."

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Ericsson Assists Digicel in Trinidad

From Wireless Week:

Digicel Group tapped Ericsson as its exclusive infrastructure vendor for its planned GSM wireless network in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

In June, Digicel placed a winning bid for available spectrum in Trinidad and Tobago. Its agreement with Ericsson is the next step in actually delivering service to the islands.

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August 6, 2005

Caribbean Digital Ltd. launches

From the Sun St. Kitts & Nevis:

Caribbean Digital Ltd. will today join the telecommunication's family. The company was granted the telecommunications licence in 2003 and will officially be launched at the Marriott Resort this morning.

"We"re licensed to offer long distance services only. That includes pre and post paid long distance, meaning we can offer residential and corporate users prepaid through international calling cards or post paid long distance," the company's Chief Executive Officer Roger Brisbane, told the SUN.

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O’Brien raises US$300m to fund Caribbean expansion

From Silicon Republic:

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel Group, the fastest-growing wireless telecommunications company in the Caribbean, has raised US$300m through a corporate bond offering as part of its continued growth strategy.

The financing was raised through investment banks Citigroup and JP Morgan and was oversubscribed more than 10 times. In the past fortnight, O’Brien, as group chairman, and group CEO Colm Delves presented to institutional investors in major international financial markets.

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August 4, 2005

Atlantic Tele-Network to Purchase Commnet Wireless

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands--(CCNMatthews - Jul 26, 2005) -

Commnet Provides Voice and Data Mobile Roaming Services to Rural U.S. Markets; Transaction Value is $59 Million

Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. ("ATN") (AMEX:ANK) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase 95% of Commnet Wireless LLC in a cash transaction valued at approximately $59 million, including the repayment of approximately $5.4 million in Commnet debt. Commnet is a privately held owner and operator of wireless voice and data roaming networks in rural markets throughout the United States. Commnet is expected to generate total revenues and cash flow from operations in 2005 of approximately $23 million and $8.5 million, respectively.

ATN will fund the purchase through a combination of cash on hand and bank debt. ATN has received a conditional commitment for the required financing from a major U.S. financial institution. Post-closing, ATN expects to have up to approximately $60 million in consolidated debt outstanding, as compared to approximately $12 million as of June 30, 2005. With estimated stockholder's equity of approximately $110 million on June 30, 2005, the transaction should leave ATN with a ratio of common equity to total capital of approximately 65%.

Management expects the transaction to close early in the fourth quarter of 2005. There are a number of customary conditions to completing the proposed transaction, including the approval of regulatory authorities and consummation of the debt financing. If closing occurs when expected, management anticipates that the transaction will be accretive to ATN's earnings. However, due to a number of uncertainties, including the precise allocation of the purchase price to amortizing and non-amortizing intangible assets, the amount of potential accretive earnings cannot be determined at this time. It is even possible, although management thinks that it is unlikely, that the purchase price allocation could result in the transaction being modestly dilutive to net income initially.

Commnet serves national, regional and local mobile carriers by providing them with low-cost roaming services and related network support in areas that would otherwise not be cost-effective for those carriers to cover. Commnet owns and operates mobile wireless networks in rural areas of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming. Post-acquisition, Commnet will become a subsidiary of ATN and will continue to be managed by Brian Schuchman and his management team. Mr. Schuchman will remain a 5% owner of Commnet.

"As our stockholders know," said Cornelius B. Prior, Jr., Chairman and CEO of ATN, "we have been looking for opportunities to acquire attractive telecom operating assets to balance our existing investments in the Caribbean. Commnet also continues our investment emphasis on wireless service in recent years, as we have grown to over 200,000 mobile subscribers today in Guyana and Bermuda. Commnet's carrier-to-carrier wireless operations are a good addition, providing us with another stable communications property operating in a smaller niche market with a manageable competitive environment."

Mr. Prior continued, "Commnet is profitable and the management team has successfully overseen substantial growth in the size and breadth of their business without sacrificing quality of service. This transaction provides a promising new source of revenue and earnings, as well as an opportunity for additional U.S. mainland investments, as Commnet seeks to expand the technological scope and geographical reach of its services."

"We are delighted to join forces with ATN," said Brian A. Schuchman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Commnet. "They share our strategic vision, have a proven track record of investing in and operating successful wireless telecommunications companies, and will only enhance the value we are delivering to our customers."

Louis J. Tomasetti, President of Commnet, added, "ATN provides us with additional access to growth capital and other technical resources that will allow us to expand our network in response to the needs of our customers. With ATN's assistance, we will continue to invest in additional network capabilities and geographic coverage and provide next-generation quality and features to our customers in under-served areas in the United States and abroad."

Raymond James served as financial advisers to Commnet. Edwards & Angell LLP and Kelley, Drye & Warren served as counsel to ATN. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP and Brown, Nietert and Kaufman served as counsel to Commnet and its selling equity holders, which include Summit Partners, a private equity firm that invested in the company in 2003.

Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. is a telecommunications company with headquarters in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Its principal subsidiary, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, Limited, is 80% owned by ATN and is the national telephone service provider in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana for all local, long-distance and international service, as well as the largest cellular service provider. ATN also owns 44% of Bermuda Digital Communications Ltd., providing cellular voice and data services in Bermuda as Cellular One; 100% of Choice Communications, LLC, providing wireless television and broadband and dial-up data services as the largest Internet service provider and the only wireless TV provider in the United States Virgin Islands.

Commnet Wireless, LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a network-based provider of wholesale wireless services. Through strategic roaming alliances with national, regional and local wireless carriers, the Company provides its partners with affordable roaming voice and data services in rural areas throughout the United States. Commnet Wireless currently operates networks with GSM/GPRS, TDMA, CDMA and analog technologies in both the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands.

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August 2, 2005

Digicel, Cingular to consummate agreement

From the Sun St. Kitts & Nevis

Cingular Wireless and Digicel are hoping to finalise their sale and purchase agreement by September.

Last month, the Bermuda-based telephone company Digicel Ltd. acquired all the operations and licences in the Caribbean and Bermuda that were owned by Cingular Wireless.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cingular has sold to Digicel, former AT&T Wireless properties, including licences, network assets and subscribers.

Minister of State with responsibility for Telecommunications Nigel Carty said the telecommunications licence is not transferable and cannot be transferred to any other operator without the expressed written consent of the minister with responsibility for telecommunications.

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Viper Networks Caribbean Distribution Partner Launches Operations

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 20, 2005--Viper Networks, Inc., (OTC:VPER), a leading innovator in voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) products and services, today announced that its Caribbean Distribution Partner, who last week purchased 1000 Broad Band Phone Adaptors from Viper Networks, has commenced operations in the region.

Former DIGICEL Group brand director Marguerite Cremin has joined forces with two local businessmen to launch the new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) firm.

The product, called Caribbean Net Talk, will offer broadband subscribers unlimited overseas calls to the USA, UK, and Canada at a monthly flat rate of US$29.95 for residential package holders, and US$49.95 for small business packages. Packages will also include free equipment and installation.

"Since Cable & Wireless (C&W) has dropped their broadband rates, a lot more people are going to be able to afford value-added products like VOIP," said Cremin, who believes that her company's offer is currently unrivalled in the Jamaican market.

C&W recently announced a new monthly broadband rate of US$29.95 - down 40 per cent from US$45. The new access rate would therefore allow Caribbean Net Talk residential subscribers who receive C&W broadband service to obtain unlimited overseas calls at a total monthly cost of US$59.95. Competitive rates for VOIP only hover in the region of US$49.99. "This is the ideal opportunity for customers who have just received a price discount on their broadband service to reinvest their savings with our product," said Cremin.

"Remember, overseas phone calls can be one of a firm's most significant business costs; Caribbean Net Talk will allow users to manage that cost," Cremin concluded.

Caribbean Net Talk will initially target residential customers, followed by small to medium businesses. The investors will operate as Ja Jabber Limited from offices at 133 Barbican Road, St. Andrew.

About Viper Networks

Viper Networks, Inc. provides VoIP products and services through distributors and resellers around the world. Its network of VoIP gateways serves more than 350 countries and regions, and it is unique in offering both network services and equipment to its customers. Unlike most competing VoIP providers, Viper Networks offers its service on a pre-pay basis. It charges only for minutes used and does not require any monthly fees. Its Internet-based users can get dial-up or broadband service with equal quality. Viper has been pioneering VoIP service and technology for more than five years.

Safe Harbor Statement: Except for the historical information contained herein, this press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted and reported results should not be considered an indication of future performance. In addition to the factors discussed in the filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, among the other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are the following: adverse changes in the business conditions and the general economy; competitive factors, such as rival companies' pricing and marketing efforts; availability of third-party material products at reasonable prices; the financial condition of the customer; risks of obsolescence due to shifts in market demand; and litigation involving product liabilities and consumer issues. Viper Networks, Inc. cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Viper Networks, Inc. expressly disclaims any obligations or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in the company's expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

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Digicel seeking funds for expansion - Now valued at US$1 billion

From the Jamaica Gleaner

CHAIRMAN AND majority shareholder Denis O'Brien and Digicel's new Group CEO Colm Delves are currently on an international roadshow in London and New York with the goal of raising U.S. $250 million to help fund their company's Caribbean expansion.

The company has confirmed that it is in the process of raising additional capital through a bond offering to help finance its growth plans. Digicel intends to raise the bond financing from international investors through investment banks Citigroup and J.P. Morgan.

"These resources will be employed to rapidly expand services in Trinidad and Tobago," Digicel advised. The funds are also intended to repay unsecured and shareholder loans, and to integrate recently acquired Cingular Wireless assets elsewhere in the Caribbean and Bermuda.

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Digicel introduces a new branding for the future

From Cayman NetNews:

Describing itself as the fastest growing mobile telecommunications company in the Caribbean, Digicel has officially introduced a new brand look to reinforce its global reach.

In 2005 so far, the company said it had increased its reach across the Caribbean region to fifteen countries with the acquisition of Curacao Telecom, its entry into Haiti, an agreement to acquire Cingular Wireless’ Bermuda and Caribbean network of operations and most recently its success in a highly competitive spectrum auction which will enable it to operate a mobile network in Trinidad & Tobago.

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