Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Flow parent downscales Jamaica mobile subscriber numbers

Published:Friday | February 24, 2017 | 2:00 AMSteven Jackson
Garfield Sinclair, mnaging director of Cable & Wireless Jamaica.

Cable & Wireless Jamaica (C&WJ), which trades as FLOW Jamaica, heralded its one millionth mobile customer last year, but its parent company is now reporting that the local telecom just surpassed 900,000 subscribers for the first time.

FLOW said that the variance is linked to the definition of 'active' used in the two analyses, noting that it defines active mobile subscribers based on a three-month timeline whereas new owner, Liberty defines it on one-month usage.

"Our one million-subscriber milestone was calculated based on our local industry standard, where an active subscriber is one who has done any kind of activity in the last 90 days," said Director of Corporate Communications Kayon Wallace. "Consequently, there will be a difference in the numbers reported."

Liberty is the ultimate parent for FLOW and Cable &Wireless Communications (CWC).

In May 2016, FLOW held nationwide celebrations to mark the milestone. Garfield Sinclair, an investment-banker-turned-telecom-executive, took the company from 300,000 mobile subscribers to its current level. Also, in the process, he grew revenues and delivered the first profit for C&WJ in nearly a decade.

"Jamaica continued its mobile subscriber momentum with particularly strong growth in the quarter to date as mobile subscribers rose by 56,000, moving above 900,000 in total for the first time," said CWC in its nine-month trading update released mid-February.

The report covered the period ending December 2016.

For the third quarter, from October to December, CWC recorded revenue growth of 1.0 per cent to US$594 million, led by Jamaica's mobile growth and Panama's "Mast3r" bundling of services. The trading update did not disclose additional financial results.

During the quarter, CWC's Internet and telephony subscribers were up by 7,000 and 2,000, respectively. Year to date, CWC increased penetration across its high-speed networks and sold more bundled packages, particularly in Jamaica and Trinidad, the report stated.

"Mobile subscribers grew by 11,000 on an organic basis year to date, and by 50,000 quarter to date as promotions drove increased sales during the holiday period, particularly in Jamaica and The Bahamas," added the company.

CWC, which operates predominantly within the Caribbean and Latin America, provides entertainment, information and communication to 3.5 million mobile, 400,000 television, 600,000 Internet, and 800,000 fixed-line telephony subscribers. In addition, CWC delivers business-to-business services and provides wholesale services over its subsea and terrestrial networks that connect over 30 markets across the region.

The company is now owned by Liberty Global through its regional holding, LiLAC Group.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com