Taking Midas touch to Caribbean

Monday, June 13, 2005

Both C&W and Digicel agree that Digicel, by opening in April 2001 with extensive quality coverage throughout Jamaica, won over many rural people and communities, who for the first time had access to a telephone. These people will now probably never look for a landline, says Neita.

Emigration is a big issue in Jamaica and so access to a telephone is very important.

Remittances are also a major part of the economy and the creation of the Digicel network meant people in rural areas could now make use of their phones to check whether promised monies have arrived. Digicel also put in place a system where Jamaicans abroad could use the internet to top up the mobile phones of friends and relations back in Jamaica.

Despite its relative poverty there is quite a lot of cash in the Jamaican economy. Almost all of Digicel’s customers use prepaid telephones. O’Brien says that people who have no landlines tend to make longer calls on their mobiles than people with landlines. Digicel’s objective is to become the leading mobile operator in the Caribbean, an area with a total population of approximately 40 million. To date the group has concentrated on the English-speaking islands but the focus is broadening out. Last week the group announced the securing of a licence in French-speaking Haiti, which has a population of nine million.
Story found here.

Source: The Irish Times