The deadline for the submission of bids for a 60% stake in state-owned Telecommunications d'Haiti (Teleco) has been extended from 9 November to 30 November. The Haitian monopoly fixed line operator is determined to attract an international strategic investor from the telecoms sector to inject capital and expertise to help upgrade and expand its networks and return the company to profitability. An international tender was originally announced in June, with applications from financial groups in consortium with telecoms operators also being accepted. The revised timetable, published on the telco’s public-private partnership website (www.haititelecoppp.org) is as follows: 30 November–4 December 2009 ‘Evaluation of bidders' eligibility and qualification statements and technical offers’; 4 December ‘Notification [on the] evaluation’; 7 December ‘Opening of financial offers, final evaluation and identification of Preferred Bidder’; 9 December ‘Notification of award’; 21 December ‘Remittance of the Payment Guarantee and execution of the Share Subscription Agreement by Central Bank of Haiti (Banque de la Republique d’Haiti [BRH])’; 15 January 2010 ‘Closing of the transaction’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Teleco recently shed approximately two-thirds of its workforce in preparation for privatisation, whilst a major factor in attracting a suitable private sector partner could be the incumbent's wireless spectrum assets: it holds 900MHz and 1900MHz GSM mobile frequencies and has permission to launch 3G services, as well as nationwide WiMAX wireless broadband spectrum. Teleco also operates a fibre-optic network in the capital Port-au-Prince, and jointly controls an international fibre-optic submarine cable link to the US via the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the commercial arm of the World Bank, is acting as adviser for the public-private partnership project, aided by several international consultancies.