The Jamaica Observer article first paragraph says “Digicel has been granted permission to shut down the Claro network less than four months after agreeing to keep it going under the terms of their merger. Permission for the network to be switched off was granted by the outgoing Jamaica Labour Party Government before December 8, as the general election campaign was kicking off. ” You know what this looks like right?
And as a result…the backlash has begun. The debate by consumers have begun to rise on Twitter, Facebook and BBM. In short, no matter how much love most people have for Digicel as the number one mobile service provider in Jamaica….they know when even their coveted winner, has been given what many see as a free pass.
The fact is, The former JLP Government has in effect swapped one monopoly for another…no matter how benevolent the new one is. Or is there something else coming that we know nothing about as yet?
The fact is, that Digicel is super powerful in this country…they represent lots of Foreign Direct Investment, thousands of jobs and let’s not forget they have been positioned to lead the revitalisation of Downtown, Kingston with their tall, beautiful, water front HQ. Who wants to say no to that?…certainly not Philip Paulwell, the new Minister of Mining, Energy and ICT “Paulwell endorses the new Digicel/Claro merger condition”. So Minister Paulwell, we are anxious to hear more about your “immediately reviewing proposed legislation aimed at encouraging competition. ”
How badly could this hurt Digicel in the eyes of its prized consumers ? Clearly it’s a risk they were willing to take. I want to see how they do damage control and image turn around on this. Will they even have to, as do Jamaican consumers care about anything other than cheap calls, free texts and lots of chances to win kind of contests?
I caught some early morning comments and added them below. Read them and leave your opinion too.
Some Comments gleaned from Facebook and Twitter
– “This whole thing is _very_ bad. I have no issue with the merger in principle. Those things can and should happen in a free market, and probably always likely at some point given Claro’s operations. My issue is with the stipulations put in place by Bruce, that were removed by Mr Holness. Such as the returning of the spectrum, the operation of the network, some of the operator expectations of Claro included in their original mobile operator license.
Even how they are handling the “merger”. Number portability was also on the table as a mooted conditionality. In effect Digicel are now getting 500,000 Claro customers for free. You don’t see anything wrong with that? Where does that leave LIME?” – M, McNaughton
– “This was always on the card as Digicel was never interesting in keeping the claro network so once again the Jamaican consumers are caught in what is a monopoly situation“- P, Kavanaugh
– “How about don’t switch and don’t pay any outstanding bills? Can’t believe Andrew Holness, former Prime Minister made that big switch and never told the country. New and different my foot….no transparency.” – D, Mullings
=[Wonder how much andrew (holness) former Prime Minister got paid for this” – M. Babuté
– RT @BigBlackBarry: Digicel is a gangster telcom. They know how to work in countries like Jamaica and Haiti.
– Sad day for Jamaica and competition in the telecoms market..the more we have it becomes better for the customer as competition gets greater. I am never a fan of Digicel Service so i am even more so hurt..Claro did not fail me (tears) – S, Scott