Hope predicts green light for C&W takeover
A communications consultant is predicting that Cable & Wireless Communications’ (CWC) proposed takeover of Columbus International will get the green light from regulators, arguing that the Barbados market is too small for three telecoms service providers.
Saying that the move by CWC, operating as LIME in the Caribbean, to acquire its competitor for more than $3 billion should not have come as a surprise, Hallam Hope contended it was time to face reality.
“The merger or acquisition is going to go through . . . We have to face it. We are not going to have three companies providing broadband service. We are not going to have three companies providing landline service and three companies providing mobile service,” he argued.
“We have to realize that the market is changing. We have a small economy and companies are simply not going to be able to come here and compete as we expect them to compete. They cannot be expected to provide all these wonderful things like better services, fancy broadband and better prices.”
If the acquisition gets regulatory approval, Digicel would be the only other competitor in the local telecommunications sector.
Hope stressed, however, that Barbados must look at the issue of regulation of telecoms services, following the takeover, to ensure service standards do not fall.
“Barbados has the regulations in place to compensate customers. We do have the standards of service regulations that say if a customer has a complaint, if the company does not respond in three days the customer can refer the matter to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC). The issue is how effective is the FTC going to be in all of this,” he said.
“The regulations are going to play an increasingly important role particularly in an environment where you are not going to have competition for a better service.”