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Trio ready to do battle

regionaltelecomstrioKINGSTON — Competition in the telecommunications industry intensified yesterday with Digicel’s announcement that it will, in the next two months, seek to capture a share of the lucrative fixed-line business dominated by arch-rival LIME.

At the same time, an apparent notice by the Office of Utilities Regulation that the Mobile Termination Rate will be reduced to $1.10 per minute, effective July 1, was welcomed by both companies yesterday with pledges to slash call rates.

“We are going to do to the landline business what we did to the mobile business when we launched back in 2000,” said Digicel Jamaica CEO Barry O’Brien.

His reference was to the dramatic change in the mobile phone industry, sparked by Digicel’s entry which hit Cable & Wireless Jamaica (now LIME) very hard.

According to O’Brien, Digicel will use wireless technology to roll out the fixed-line service, which, he said, currently has approximately 300,000 numbers and is also offered by Columbus Communications Jamaica, parent company of cable TV giant Flow.

“Digicel has no intention of laying down a copper network. We are going to use wireless technology,” O’Brien said.

He told the Jamaica Observer that the company is also considering offering all Digicel-to-Digicel fixed-line calls free.

“That will be enabled with the change now; it will be easier for us; we will come up with a competing product,” he said.

The OUR’s decision comes on the heels of the Government’s stated intention to roll out local number portability next year, which will allow phone users to switch carriers and keep the same number.

“The OUR’s decision means that my customers can call LIME customers. It is going to cost me a lot less, which means that we will be passing that value on to our customers,” O’Brien said, adding that his company will make an announcement about the new prices soon.

“So with number portability coming in next year, and the reduced wireless termination rate, that is going to greatly assist us to launch this business,” he said.

Yesterday, LIME’s Corporate Communications Manager Elon Parkinson, in an e-mail response to the Observer, said that his CEO, Garry Sinclair, was on record saying that LIME can bring down the rates in a market when everything else is increasing because they were already too high.

“The fact of the matter is that they were artificially high,” the e-mail quoted Sinclair, who noted that, when the OUR dropped the rate from $9 to $5 last year, his company slashed its off-network rate from $12 to $6.99.

Yesterday, Michele English, president and chief operating officer of Columbus Communications, said her company welcomes number portability and will continue to encourage the Government to move speedily to its implementation so that consumers can realise the benefits to be gained.

“With number portability, consumers will be the real winners, they will have the ability and opportunity to choose their preferred service provider – the provider that will offer them the best service, best value and [most] savings,” she said. (Observer)

One Response to Trio ready to do battle

  1. Claudia Rosemarie Hayles July 1, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Mr. Barry O’Brian
    Good evening. I must commend you for the initiatives you have taken and will be taking to improve our communication system via: Digicel mobile and land line.

    I am not so happy with the service of your retail out lets over the recent years as the mobile phones I have been purchasing have been stolen and recently as July 2012 I have sacrificed my net pay and purchase a Touch Phone (Nokia) and just find it went dead in May of 2013. I was told by a concern colleague at my workplace that if I takes it in Digicel will replace it because it is warranted.
    Lo and behold I took the phone to the new head Office in Down Town Kingston and was rudely awaken by the first customer Service Representative as he claimed I was shouting at him. He said “I should take back the phone to where I purchased it and let them dispatched it to the service Center in New Kingston. ” I said I am not going back up there. I took it down to the Head Office and one of the customer representatives told be to go back to the Annbell store where I purchased it and get a print out and take it back to the the Head Office, now I am being told to take the phone back to Annbelll store and let them dispatch it to the repair center.
    This was high frustration. I work all the way in the Stony Hill area, I have to leave work to take in the phone to be assessed and the dealer just have me up and down all over the place due to lack of knowledge of my rights as a client.

    I was informed recently that the mobile phone is back at the Head Office via phone message from the repair centre. When I went there today to collect the phone hoping that all was well . I was offered back the same phone nothing has being done to it and I am told by the customer that the phone has shown that it has moisture in it.

    Before the phone was sent off by the first customer rep. Mr. D’Oyen Duncan to the Com Tech. dealer for assessment, he asked me if I pour water into it. I asked him why would I pour water into my ten thousand dollars phone. I said “Do you think I have money to waste?” Believe me sir , when I was buying the phone I never realize that there was warrant on it. It is concern colleague informed me of such benefit. Now your customer representative is making me aware of the possibility exists that I could pour water into it to get another phone. Then what makes matters worse I turn up for the phone today and I am now made to understand by the second customer representative that the assessors found moisture into the phone. this was reported to me by Mr. David Reid customer Representative at Digicel Head Office Assessment area. I am concern about your service to the clients. I am also concern weather or not we as customers are getting malfunctioning devices to use as brand new phones. I need your quarry into this matter. I was not even given a phone to use while the assessment was carried out on my phone. I have not taken back the phone as I am very upset with the service rendered to me and the false accusation given in exchange for quality service for my Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) Plus the inconvenience of using the phone especially in My Child Month Programme when I needed it to take photographs of the children at my school. My main reason for purchasing this phone was to get all these services it featured during the sale of the phone. I am expecting a better service from your company and your workers. It should not be that the providers are the ones to be benefited the most. I am a Guidance Counsellor at a Primary and Junior High School and I need the service of the phone I have sacrificed to purchase. Please do not disappoint me any further . Please let good sense prevail and let me have back a phone that is commendable and worth the money that was spent for it on the 11th of July 2012. The Invoice # is 371274,purchase at Anbell Agencies,31 Knutsford Blvd, Kingston 5.Type of phone SKU:100EF ; 108EF; SKU 108EF –
    SKU:NC202RR Nokia C202 Net Invoice : $9,285.50

    Dealer Return Form done by D’Oyen Duncan
    IMEI 356641043076412
    Customer Name : Claudia Hayles
    Customer’s Address : Knollis District, Tulloch Cottage,Bog Walk , St. Catherine, Jamaica
    Customer Contact # (M)1876286 -9057(w)18762869057(H)18762869057(o)18762869057
    Tracking Number : 020011610800356
    Dealer RepresenativeD’Oyen Duncan

    Second dealer representative showed me the phone after it was assessed. David Reid July 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm
    He said I can call Miss Marsha Mc Farlane at 619 -5000
    How can I call her without a phone.? I could not take a phone that had no use. Ever since I get the phone it was malfunctioning. I thought I did not know how to use the phone. I t was only when it totally refused to show anything on the screen that I realize that the phone was in deed not good. Please replace the phone.

    Sign Claudia Hayles
    Guidance Counsellor


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