US$400M plus jobs to flow from telecoms merger
With full regulatory approval yet to be given for their recent merger, Cable & Wireless and Columbus International are already promising that US$400 million in broadband investment, plus 500 new jobs will flow to the Caribbean as a result of the US$3 billion deal.
The announcement was made in a statement today in which CWC’s CEO Phil Bentley said the new company plans to revolutionize telecommunications across the region.
“This merger will result in the most extensive fibre infrastructure ever constructed in the region, providing wider access to all, specifically targeting low income households. We will ensure that all our customers have affordable access, while also providing industry leading 1 Gb/s broadband speeds for those customers who want an unparalleled online experience,” Bentley said.
The two companies, whose November merger remains actively under consideration by Caribbean regulators, including the Suriname-based CARICOM Competition Commission, are also promising at least 500 jobs between now and 2019 through the growth of services and a review of their outsourcing arrangements.
“We will enhance the quality of our customers’ experience, as we invest in jobs closer to our Caribbean customers,” Bentley said.
Columbus CEO Brendan Paddick also indicated that “our job is to keep our customers satisfied, and if we do not deliver an exceptional experience, we can’t expect their patronage. You can’t contract customer loyalty – you have to earn it”.
It was not immediately clear how Barbados would be impacted by the latest promises.
However, CWC, which trades here as LIME, and Columbus, which operates as FLOW, said the merged entity intends to become “the leading regional supporter of net neutrality and provide full access to legal ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) services.
Officials also said the new company would be committed to Local Number Portability (LNP), which will enable customers to exercise the freedom of keeping their telephone numbers, should they choose to switch operators.
“We are keen to facilitate consumer choice – it’s our customers who define service excellence – and the freedom to access OTT services and to port mobile or fixed line telephone numbers is a key element of our strategy.” Bentley said.
With the introduction of a “no-contract” service offering, customers will have the ability to transfer landline, video and broadband services at any time, to any provider, the companies said.