Telecommunications Competitons And Their Profiles In The Caribbean Region

952 words - 4 pages

Competition and their ProfilesWe are in the in the midst of global information revolution driven by the union and increase in information and communication technologies. The telecommunications sector is changing at warp speed, driven by technological innovation that results in new equipment and services and ultimately new entrants into the market with experience in a wide range of informationFor more than 40 years, London based Cable & Wireless has held a monopoly in many English-speaking Caribbean countries including Barbados however, this has changed tremendously through the Telecommunications Act (1996).As a result of this, the telecommunications services are increasingly being liberalized to attract competitive providers here in Barbados and on a global scale. Some of the providers that have been awarded the licenses to operate in Barbados are as follows:AT&T: The history of AT&T is in large measure the history of the telephone in the United States. AT&T's roots stretch back to 1875, with founder Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone. During the 19th century, AT&T became the parent company of the Bell System, the American telephone monopoly. The Bell System provided what was by all accounts the best telephone service in the world. The system broke up into eight companies in 1984 by agreement between AT&T and the U.S. Department of Justice. From 1984 until 1996 AT&T was an integrated telecommunications services and equipment company, succeeding in a newly competitive environment. Currently, AT&T has acquired a license to operate in Barbados and plan on instituting a wide range of services within Barbados and the region.Digicel: DIGICEL Barbados Limited, was set up by Irish entrepreneur Denis O'Brien with the ambition of becoming the Vodafone of the Caribbean is aiming to bring a totally positive customer service experience to Barbadians when it launches its GSM cellular network. The company is currently working steadily on the setup of its state-of-the-art, mobile GSM cellular net-work in Barbados under the spear head of one of Barbados prominent businessmen Ralph "bizzy" Williams. Once completed and an interconnect agreement with the incumbent, Cable & Wireless finalized Digicel says it will be ready to offer Barbadians a highly sophisticated mobile communications product. Not only does Digicel want consumers to enjoy the benefits of GSM, but they want to make the entire customer experience a positive one. CEO Donal O. Shaughnessy explained adding: W e will be putting all the necessary systems and procedures in place to ensure that this happens. Similar to what was done in the other islands, Digicel will be introducing an extensive range of GSM mobile phones into the market andBarbadians can expect to see the major brands like Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola being offered.Many of the phones will be GPRS-ready and carry features like built-in cameras and web browsers.Another important aspect of the Digicel service to be offered will be international roaming. With roaming partners in over 50 countries, local customers will be able to use their own mobile phones and numbers in more places than ever before. Not only will roaming to other Digicel countries in the region be possible, but also to North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and closer to home, in the French, Spanish and Dutch Caribbean.Sunbeach: Sunbeach is Barbados' largest dial-up Internet Service Provider. Sunbeach has operated profitably for the last five years, and is now repositioning itself to take advantage of the changes taking place within the telecommunications market in Barbados and the wider Caribbean. The Company intends to build on the platform of the Sunbeach ISP to develop both e-commerce and m-commerce opportunities in Barbados using the latest technologies and offering a flexible alternative in the field of telecommunications.Sunbeach aims to become a facilities-based "Total Service Provider" which means offering bundled international and domestic Internet, data and voice services to business and residential retail customers and other carriers located internationally. The Company intends to serve the demand for high-quality, low cost international communications services which is being driven by the growth of data and Internet traffic and the worldwide trend toward telecommunications deregulation.Sunbeach will offer international cellular roaming to the half a million or more people who visit Barbados each year from the UK and Europe where cellular penetration is over 60 per cent.International roaming calls are a premium priced service, and these visitors who represent a sophisticated cellular market and who are accustomed to having access to their mobile phones when traveling, are potential customers for a compatible cellular service. In addition, approximately 500,000 cruise ship passengers originating from the US visit Barbados annually, and represent another potentially lucrative market for international roaming calls.Although this liberalization and influx of competition in the telecommunications industry here in Barbados seems beneficial we should also look at the negative aspects. The result of this liberalization will lead to a few competitors in the market, which as a result would form oligopolies within the region and Barbados. Although these new oligopolies will be able to offer a better range of services than there predecessors to meet the consumers needs, we must also take into account the dangers that could arise, such as the prevention of major competition in price, service etc.


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