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CWC to return LIME call centre operations to the Caribbean

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2015 | 3:05 PMNeville Graham

Pressured by mounting complaints of a language barrier, Cable and Wireless Communications Plc will return its call centre operations to the Caribbean, with plans for a 200-seat contact centre that will replace the service now provided from Spanish-speaking El Salvador.

CWC chief executive officer Phil Bentley said Wednesday that by the end of 2015 those 200 jobs will be located either in Jamaica or Barbados. He said the decision to outsource the centre predated his arrival at CWC just over a year ago, but that he was committed to reversing it.

No costs were disclosed, but Bentley did say the return of the customer centre would be part of the integration with Flow and would focus on the quad-play spectrum of mobile, internet, landline and video.

“We’ve got to make sure we have the right country and the right flexibility in terms of workforce but we will be setting up a new call centre for Caribbean people with Caribbean people. It is all part of a plan to show that ‘new Flow’ is a force to be reckoned with,” said the CWC chief executive as he fielded questions during a conference call on CWC’s year-end results. The reference to new Flow pertained to a decision announced by CWC earlier this month that it would be dropping the LIME name and adopting Flow as the primary consumer brand for the company.

For the annual period ending March 2015, CWC reported revenue gains of four per cent to US$1.75 billion; and a seven per cent boost in earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortisations or EBITDA to US$585 million, amid the continued roll-out of its network improvement project, dubbed ‘Marlin’. Project Marlin is a US$1 billion capital programme of which less than half, US$442 million, was spent.

“We have made good progress in executing our strategy and we are beginning to uncover the full potential of our business,” said Bentley. “CWC is on the way to becoming a better company - a genuine quad-play operator, with strong market share in the geographically focused and attractive Caribbean and Latin American markets,” he said.

Inside Jamaica, the company gained 107,000 new mobile subscribers and grew revenue by 19 per cent. The additional subscribers represented market growth of 15 per cent, CWC said in its earnings report, which would place LIME Jamaica’s mobile customer base at over 713,000.

Across the group, CWC’s customer base rose from 5.068 million to 6.069 million, due to the addition of Flow/Columbus’ fixed, broadband and video subscribers. CWC finalised the acquisition of Columbus Inc in March and is in the process of merging the operations in markets that have already approved the tie-up of the companies.

Bentley says the rebranding will begin in Barbados, and will see the introduction of an all-fibre optic network to 56,000 customers and internet speeds of 100mbps. CWC is spending US$1.5 billion overall on the merger project.