Digicel customers to pay more

The Irish telecommunications company Digicel has announced a hike in its mobile and data rates for customers in Barbados.

In a statement released on its website, the company also said it would no longer to be absorbing the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), which was implemented by Government last year.

Conor Looney

This after Chief Executive Officer Conor Looney had reported last February that the phone company had seen a rise in its customer base since announcing on January 8, 2016 that it would absorb the additional 4.5 per cent VAT on mobile phone use.

As you are aware, Digicel has made significant and ongoing investment in our networks to improve our service to you over the past 18 months, including the implementation of 4GLTE and the expansion of our 4G cellular network.

“This investment has been necessary in order to continue to deliver the level of service you both expect and deserve,” the company said in an advisory to customers.

However, while blaming the increased cost of doing business on the island, Digicel said it would be increasing its rates for prepaid and postpaid mobile, as well as for its data services. The changes to the prepaid rates take effect on January 3, 2017 and those for postpaid on February 1, 2017.

“As such, you will notice some increase in rates for mobile calls, data services and plans to reflect our increased costs.

“In addition, in January 2016 Digicel absorbed the increase in VAT implemented by the Government as a gesture of goodwill to our valued customers in recognition of the nation’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. We advise that this concession now comes to an end and as a result the price changes on your bill will also reflect the full VAT amount,” the advisory added.

The move come swiftly on the heels of a report by independent research provider CreditSights which stated that the company was facing an uncertain future due to high debt, currency fluctuations and change in consumer behaviour.

The report, which was published in the Irish Examiner, quoted CreditSights analyst Michael Chakardijan as saying in London that Digicel’s high debt levels of more than $6 billion left little room for manoeuvre.

It also contended that the change in Digicel users’ habits may hamper the company’s ability to increase margins by 24 percentage points by March 2018, while cutting costs by using technology and changing back office functions.

It said the company had been suffering from a decline in phone call revenue as users switch to the likes of Viber, WhatsApp and Skype.

Asked by Barbados TODAY to respond to the report and if there were any implications for the Barbados market, Looney said: “Digicel fundamentally disagrees with the conclusions of the report”.

“Digicel’s outlook remains positive with robust plans to deliver by monetizing our network investment and through realistic cost management initiatives,” he added.

Digicel has said it was focusing on growing its earnings in order to reduce the company’s debt-to-earnings ratio while cutting costs.

As part of its upgrade earlier this year it was reported that by the end of 2016 Digicel would have invested over BDS$100 million in building out a state-of-the-art fibre network.

In November last year it was reported that the company had invested US$100 million in fibre technology and new services in Jamaica.

The UK publication reported that Digicel had two loans maturing in the near future. A $210 million loan it said that was due to be repaid in March 2018 and $90 million in project finance debt on its South Pacific business due to mature in August 2017.



63 Responses to Digicel customers to pay more

  1. Max Carter
    Max Carter December 30, 2016 at 8:45 am

    thanks dlp

    • Sherlock Holmes. December 30, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      I was going to tell you don’t be an ass but it would be remiss of me, it is clear you already are.

  2. Kevin Gibson
    Kevin Gibson December 30, 2016 at 8:45 am

    look how I’ll be down grading my service!

  3. Myrol Weekes
    Myrol Weekes December 30, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I predicted they wouldn’t have absorbed that for a long time.

  4. Terry Bell
    Terry Bell December 30, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Lmao I was waiting for this to happen and it comes as a 2017 gift to customers,wonder when bajans going to stand up and fight for better#flow/digicel!!

  5. Max Carter
    Max Carter December 30, 2016 at 8:53 am

    tax end back at poor people i dont blame digicel

  6. Kevin Benskin
    Kevin Benskin December 30, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Sooner or later I knew it would happen. Oh well

  7. Dwayne Durant
    Dwayne Durant December 30, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Not surprise bigger worse network smh

  8. Danny Colombian Clarke
    Danny Colombian Clarke December 30, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I’m not taking up for Digicel but in all honesty it’s the government that raised the vat and I did not expect Digicel to continue to absorb it forever.

    • Dwight Browne
      Dwight Browne December 30, 2016 at 9:11 am

      https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2016/07/12/digi-rise/ and the data plans already changed for the year too

    • Danny Colombian Clarke
      Danny Colombian Clarke December 30, 2016 at 9:29 am

      I know they changed . I used the 1 gb for $20. They finished that and I now have to use the 1.5 gb at $27 . Choice is ours . Put it on or not . Can’t do much about it

    • Katherine Selman Roach
      Katherine Selman Roach December 30, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Flow service rates are a lot cheaper than digicel, check your facts before you speak

    • Danny Colombian Clarke
      Danny Colombian Clarke December 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

      OK Miss Flow ambassador could you please tell me where I compared rates ??? I simply said that it’s the government that raised the vat on cell services and I did not expect Digicel to continue to absorb it forever . So you better learn to read and comprehend before you come flying with your fast self. They rob us blind for years as the monopoly . Only could ease us when Digicel come . That cause you to get all excited. For a fact they don’t have a data plan under 2 gb for 30 days . I get a 1.5 from Digicel . There other data plans are the same give n take . I never said they were cheaper or not I said “not like Flow so much better ” . I pay Digicel $15 for 40 min n 60 text on one of my phones . Does Flow have that plan ? And at what price ?

  9. Omar Watson
    Omar Watson December 30, 2016 at 8:58 am

    What does the DLP have to do with their bottomline? They have shareholders to answer to. Wanna…complain then pay the increase.

  10. Lennox hewitt December 30, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Raise rates digicel will loose custommers .

  11. Sukie Lamour
    Sukie Lamour December 30, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Not a red cent I will pay digicel when I am here. Wifi for life!

  12. Marilyn C Fields
    Marilyn C Fields December 30, 2016 at 9:06 am

    This don’t come as no surprise.. Just like flow… It will soon sell it shares for $1 or 2 billions and move on..and bajans will be forever getting screw by these foreigners..

    • hcalndre December 31, 2016 at 6:00 am

      I think people in barbados is getting screwed by this administration because in the end these entities would have to pass the increase of taxes on to the consumer so put the blame where it belongs. There is an issue with a 2.5% tax the minister put on imported goods and he himself don`t even know who or how it should be implemented. It`s getting closer to the election time so look out for some hand-outs and give backs, hoping that the bajans with their short memories would fall for them and return them to power, then they will be like an elephant in a china shop. That will be three terms for them, so they could care less what happens after. I could only wish the people good luck and a prosperous 2017.

  13. Richard Johnston December 30, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Death spiral.

  14. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce December 30, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Pure Utter GREED!

    • Danny Colombian Clarke
      Danny Colombian Clarke December 30, 2016 at 10:36 am

      They are only implementing the vat increase that the DLP put on cell services at the start of 2016 . They absorbed it for a whole year . You sure it ain’t the government that greedy ?

    • Greitcha Smith
      Greitcha Smith December 30, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      How so?

  15. Adriano Sergio
    Adriano Sergio December 30, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Digicel is not getting another cent from me when I finish pay my bill …cut off !!!

  16. Dennis Connell
    Dennis Connell December 30, 2016 at 9:50 am

    According to how much they rise will decide if i stay with them

  17. Katherine Selman Roach
    Katherine Selman Roach December 30, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Really don’t care Digicel cause I don’t use you service anymore, someone has to put a end to all this rubbish these companies doing.

  18. Jennifer December 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

    If I was a PREDATOR I would watch my prey very careful as this comes natural to me. Look at their spending’s, especially on BS. Then swoop in and take my prey. These predators only tell you about the money they spent 100 million etc, but they will never tell you what they made as this is classified. I bet this predator made much more. I know what i will be doing – talking less. hahahaha.
    Believe me more will be coming, brace for it.

    @Marilyn – this is nothing new, these eagles always lurking. Blame the coconut coons.

  19. Jeff Weekes
    Jeff Weekes December 30, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Me and my Wifi

  20. Disgruntled digi user December 30, 2016 at 10:36 am

    This is totally wrong. The increase in rates are two fold not only bc of vat but their debt. They took flow customers under the guise of a better deal. Hook them, then do the same thing flow did.

  21. jrsmith December 30, 2016 at 10:44 am

    What did you people expect, if the telecom market was opened in Barbados, we want more competition. keep saying bajans are being used as guinea pigs, but the corporate cartel investing in other islands…

  22. Pamalea Payne
    Pamalea Payne December 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Was very thank full for cell phones now look how I going hv to boycott these Nasty service providers, talk with ma before I left home , We seriously need to boycott some you people

  23. morelife December 30, 2016 at 10:55 am

    It’s very simple switch to flow and digi have no choice but to change rates

  24. Dennis Taitt
    Dennis Taitt December 30, 2016 at 11:07 am

    More stress for the poor. Always comes back to not wasting your days at school.

  25. Dennis Taitt
    Dennis Taitt December 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

    The youngest child walking aroung with a cel phone most cannot spell . Do not even know their tables and their parents are not paying them no attention. Cannot blame the government ot the providers. Some parents cannot buy food and have 8 people in a house 16 cel phones and the service from both providers installed in their homes. Who is to be blamed? Wise up now or never.

  26. Kamila Burrowes
    Kamila Burrowes December 30, 2016 at 11:17 am


  27. clint December 30, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Sad, I was thinking to switch to you guys because of flow/lime’s poor service. My flow/lime internet hasn’t worked for the past four weeks!!!!

  28. Princess Consuela
    Princess Consuela December 30, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Smh, people picking up for flow. The company who was charging you for calls whether or not you answered, made you pay for voice messages whether you listened to them. People should be thanking God Digicel came and broke that monopoly. Now keep praying for them to close and leave slow, let us see how much better off we will be. Dont you know you have digicel to thank for your low flow rates. #Digiceltillidead

  29. L.singh December 30, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Ha…. what a prediction from this CEO! he be out and another in with usual empty promises….. FLOW got the better position and plans now….

  30. Sonnie Leawat
    Sonnie Leawat December 30, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Wifi it is then .

  31. dave brewster December 30, 2016 at 11:49 am

    ha ha ….. that made me laugh….what he meant to say is that he wants to squeeze more even more margin our of us Bajans in 2017 and that is why he now decided to start 2017 increasing his prices !!

  32. Walter Prescod December 30, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    They said they made millions of profit this year in Barbados.
    Suddenly! They have to hike the cost because of in vestments ???
    Bajans being F889d by these greedy Jim Crows!
    Boycott them!!

  33. Bryan Hazelwood
    Bryan Hazelwood December 30, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    As A Non Resident I couldnt even buy a Prepaid Digicel Sim Card and prepaid Minutes when I was in Speightstown…..so I bought Flow minutes,data and a sim card….they seemed a better deal too.

  34. Jennifer December 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    You know what these predators will do too. You will get some competition coming in thinking this will help which will be short lived, and then they all join forces together and carry on the onslaught.
    This is time for us to analyze ourselves, and the way we think and stop this foolish spending and the men need to get their women on board too cause they are the chief culprits.
    These greed dogs never get enough. While we sit and talk and do nothing.

  35. Lennox Hewitt
    Lennox Hewitt December 30, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Yes it’s Everybody hate Chris fault that responsible for Digicel raising dum rates now so do not blame Digicel blame Everybody hate Chris .

  36. Lennox Hewitt
    Lennox Hewitt December 30, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Yea flow rates lower i top up with digicel n last as long as a snow cone in the desert

  37. Lennox Hewitt
    Lennox Hewitt December 30, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I realise when i top up flow it last longer dan digicel

    • L.singh December 31, 2016 at 6:45 am

      Yes…I agree….my top up is better on FLOW today and across the island they have a better service on the network. Digicel are not who they used to be vs. 5 yrs ago with too many CEO’s…..and FLOW got great backing with liberty global investment.

  38. Rawle Agard
    Rawle Agard December 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Mafia people.

  39. Proud Digicel Employee December 30, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    I would like to say bajans do not read and research before opening their mouthes. Nobody opened their mouthes when the government did what they had to do. Just like you and cutting back on your living expenses, the company had to as well. If you know what it is to own a business and operating at a loss will not be beneficial to you the owner or the public. I say the public because you will loose good services and products. They kept it off for a year. It’s not profitable for them to be doing it so they made a decision. So right on Digicel

  40. L.singh January 1, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I” would like to say”….if you be so proud but you stay annouymus! The company can cut back in many ways and reduce overheads. …Opex would be a prime example or on boarding of staff. …why u say operating at a loss….!! Digicel makes a small fortune in net revenues….so you yourself are not correct or accurate… 2017 tIme to FLOW.

  41. Anonymous January 2, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Almost Everyone’s saying ‘boycott’ and ‘I done with Digi’ or ‘WiFi all the way’ but let’s be realistic flow’s prices were ridiculous when they were a monopoly then digicel came in and thing got better because of the new found competition. Correct me if I’m wrong if we end digicel doesn’t this bring flow right back where we started? So with total control again is it gonna be better? Will flow’s service remain manageable? Would WiFi cost remain manageable? So just as digicel is looking at there future let’s look at ours before we hastily decide.

  42. Anonymous January 2, 2017 at 10:57 am


  43. D greaves January 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    You have a valid point but this situation you refer to is outdated now….FLOW are managed by one of the biggest and most customer focused businesses in the world….They will not jeproadize their position now. I am not paying extra for data now. They should have stipulated well in advance when they were increasing their costs. …and not on the back of a Christmas campaign, this is what the customer is outraged with.


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