Ezine Business 2004
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CEO of Digicel Eastern Caribbean - Kevin White
Web Posted - Fri Aug 13 2004
WITH a trio of introductions to the Barbados and Eastern
Caribbean market yesterday, Digicel, the Caribbean-based mobile phone
provider once again raised the bar on best value products and services
for its customers.
Compliments of the Barbados Advocate
Web Posted - Mon Aug 16 2004 By Sherlock Small
Digicel, at approximately 56 per cent, looks to have overtaken Cable & Wireless (approximately. 36 per cent), in the race to dominate the GSM mobile phone market in Barbados, with AT&T Wireless third with approximately eight per cent in GSM.
The percentages are not official, but were revealed to Business Monday by well-placed and reliable sources noting, however, that Cable & Wireless was still the overall market leader – TDMA and GSM combined.
Neither Digicel nor AT&T has a TDMA network, having launched with the more advanced GSM, and sources reported that Digicel has amassed between 50 000 and 60 000 GSM mobile phone subscribers, a number confirmed by CEO Donal O’Shaugnessy, while neither AT&T nor C&W has revealed their actual numbers. To determine how well C&W is doing in the GSM race, the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2004 is a significant indicator. According to that report, at the end of 2002 when C&W was the only provider, there were 361 mobile phones in Barbados per 1 000 persons, which would be some 97 470 phones, given a population of 270 000.
With the issuing of cell licences to new competitors in 2003, and allowing for further growth in C&W’s TDMA network during 2003, this 97 470 could have increased. So for Cable & Wireless to be approaching 30 per cent of GSM sales, and allowing for some migration from TDMA to GSM since that company’s December 2003 launch, is a creditable performance and some indicator of the overall number of C&W mobile handsets.
Speaking for Digicel, following a product launch last week at the Savannah Hotel, CEO Donal O’Shaugnessy said while he did not have overall market share numbers, it was clear that the mobile phone market had expanded since liberalisation.
“Definitely the market has expanded. You go back to last January, February before launch, when the penetration levels in the market place were maybe 40 or 45 per cent, they have grown to 60 per cent. That nets out at an additional 60 000 or 70 000 subscribers, to what was on the incumbent’s network prior to liberalisation. So I think what you are seeing is a very rapid initial growth, that’s because costs have become more affordable, and because people are seeing that mobility and having mobile phones as your communications device is probably a more beneficial way to be contacted rather than waiting to use a land line when you get home,” he said.
Noting that market share information was normally collated by the Telecommunications Ministry, for cellular, fixed line and international services, O’Shaugnessy said he believed it would probably be 12 to 18 months before there could be realistic picture of market share. He added that while there has been a bit of movement to and from operators, overall growth in the market place had met with expectations, while there was still significant growth yet to occur.
“I think Barbados will end up very much at European levels in time to come. Another three or four years, we will end up with 80 per cent penetration,” O’Shaugnessy said.
Compliments of the Barbados Advocate
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