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Digicel eyes LIME’S customers

Geralyn Edward

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MOBILE PHONE provider Digicel says market penetration for cellphones here is nearly maxed out and it is now going after LIME’s substantial fixed line customers.
Barry O’Brien, Digicel Barbados’ managing director, told the SUNDAY SUN in an interview at the company’s launch of its 4G network last Wednesday night, that cellphone penetration was around 110 per cent, while the highest figures achieved in some European countries was about 118 to 120 per cent.
“Barbados has a population of 280 000 and it has a 110 per cent market penetration . . . so the market is not going to grow hugely. What we at Digicel are offering is more products and more services to the market to grow that revenue for us,” he explained.
“The other way we are going to grow is to take customers from our competitors because the population is obviously not growing. The number of homes that people are going to buy is not going to grow substantially,” O’Brien explained.
“The way forward is to grow from being a mobile company – which is where we primarily make our revenue – into a full [information communications technology] company,” he added.
In this connection, he cited Digicel’s recent acquisition of Netxar Technologies, a local ICT company.
O’Brien said Digicel was now eager to bring more competition to the fixed line market.
“Government has been very positive about offering a licence for the landline and has been very supportive. So we are just going through due process and I am very confident we will get it when we need to get it,” O’Brien noted.
The telecom boss said it was much too early to talk about pricing for its planned service, but said it would definitely come in under the current rates.
“As we did with mobile, we hope that it would bring down pricing overall for customers. We are all about bringing value and we certainly would not be offering a service that was more expensive than what exists. It will be about giving value and better service and getting customers to switch over to us like we did in mobile,” O’Brien added.