Sweet deals push Jamaicans to flood Digicel and LIME stores to switch providers
Lured by the promise of sweet deals, including free handsets, hundreds of dollars in credit, and free SIM cards, Jamaicans have been taking advantage of number portability, which was introduced last week, and both Digicel and LIME are reporting massive gains in the process.
With large crowds storming its outlets across the Corporate Area yesterday, Digicel said its unconfirmed data showed more than 1,000 persons making the switch in the 48-hour period starting last Thursday.
Among them was 'Mickayla', who braved a mad crowd, pepper spray from police personnel trying to restore order, and an unforgiving morning sun to make the switch at the Digicel headquarters in downtown Kingston.
"I traded in my LIME SIM card yesterday and I like my new phone. I had to carry my ID and TRN, and they said that I have a year warranty on it, plus I got a charger with it and an earphone," said Mickayla.
However, LIME also reported a rush to switch to its network, saying it gained more than 700 new subscribers, while Digicel gained about 364 with over 300 of theirs coming last Friday alone, after aggressive promotions.
"Over the past few days, we introduced three great value offers as a welcome gift to mobile users who wished to make the move and join Jamaica's biggest family," said Digicel Jamaica CEO Sean Latty.
He said these included all customers who switched to the Digicel network last Friday and yesterday getting a free SIM card and $500 credit per month for a year.
The company also gave customers who switched to the Digicel network a free Avvio 750 smartphone. However, this promotion is available in only select Digicel stores across the island.
Post-paid customers received a free Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 or a Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, plus a free two-month subscription and a 10 per cent rebate when they made the move to Digicel and activated any of its SMART plans.
"We are very happy with the positive and overwhelming response we have been getting from customers to these three offers over the past few days, and we are happy to be welcoming hundreds of new customers to the Digicel family.
"This means that they, too, can now start to enjoy real value, world-class service, and Jamaica's only islandwide 4G mobile network," added Latty.
An equally upbeat Gail Abrahams, director of communications and stake-holder relationships for the combined Lime and Flow operations in Jamaica, said the company is extremely pleased with the first full week of local number portability (LNP) in Jamaica.
"If early trends are anything to go by, there could be a significant shift in subscriber. In the seven days since the launch of LNP, Lime has welcomed more than 100 subscribers per day," said Abrahams.
"Jamaicans clearly want to switch to our network because they can get better value. This compares to less than 10 per day wanting to switch from LIME to Digicel.
"LIME has added subscribers twice as fast as Digicel as a result of LNP. These are strong figures for LIME, whose subscriber base is less than half that of Digicel, which boasts of having some two million Jamaican subscribers on its network," added Abrahams.
PLEASED WITH RESPONSE
She said LIME is very pleased with the response and the number of subscribers wanting to join its network.
"We feel vindicated in pushing for local number portability. It's certainly ensuring greater competition in the market. We were confident from day one that Jamaicans wanted a better option, to be able to switch to a reliable network and still keep their numbers.
"LIME has a reliable network that is world-class and we have space to welcome new members to the Lime family."
Abrahams noted that LIME has handset and SIM-card promotions going on in the marketplace, including reduced costs for premium handsets.
"However, we are confident that our customers know we offer the better value and, therefore, our promotions are largely focused on customer education around the porting process and making it clear to them that there is no barrier to porting to LIME."
According to Abrahams, "LNP will certainly increase competition and put the consumer in charge. All companies will have to rely on service and customer-focused products."
- Additional reporting
by Andrew Harris.