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Hoping for best from LIME, Flow

June Cumberbatch

Hoping for best from LIME, Flow

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The announcement a few weeks ago about the acquisition of Flow by LIME was quite shocking for most Bajans. I have to admit that I, too, am quite concerned about this latest development.

After all, as a recent convert to Flow, my experience has been like a breath of fresh air – not only was the service a standout, I was also very impressed by their prices and product offering.

 I am not looking forward to “going back” to LIME. I have made my concerns clear to the managers at Flow, who assure me that the intention is not go back, but to “go forward”, combining the so-called strengths of both organisations.

So I started talking to my friends about this, and the possibility that we could really get a hybrid company serving us, as these two companies are claiming they are about to. I also started to do some research on the matter, “and I realised that “combining companies” seems to be the trend not just here in the region, but across the United States.

Interestingly enough, I have also been listening to the response of other players in the market, mainly Digicel, who are aggressively claiming that this is a monopolistic move and not good for the customers. This I find [strange].

 After talking to other business colleagues, I understand that Digicel has been acquiring many companies across the region and even tried to buy Columbus and failed.

From what I understand, Digicel completed several acquisitions across the Caribbean including Netxar, a regional IT player, Claro in Jamaica, U Mobile in Guyana and Voilà in Haiti. More recently there was the GCN submarine deal and SportsMax, a regional cable company.   

So claims by Digicel of monopoly are quite strange in my mind and I am not sure where Digicel is going with this, unless what’s good for the goose . . . .

I see customers in Jamaica openly stating their disappointment with Digicel [for turning] this into something negative when they themselves are acquiring companies.

But back to this deal. Apart from Digicel in the region, I looked over in the United States and I see a similar trend where companies in the telecom industry are merging or co-managing assets. Deals by companies such as Comcast and Verizon and AT&T and Direct TV seem to point to combining resources to be more effective.

So back here in Barbados, it seems that this deal was inevitable. it’s just that Cable & Wireless seemed to have made the best deal and got ahead of Digicel.

The only question now is, will C&W really make good on their promise to become a better organisation? I for one will wait and see. But I hope that this merger will bring the best of both worlds that both C&W and Columbus have to offer.