Phil Bentley positive about LIME's future
Phil Bentley, Cable and Wireless Communications' chief executive, made a quick trip to Jamaica recently and addressed journalists on many issues during a LIME press conference held at the telecoms company's corporate offices in St Andrew.
Bentley whose impressive résumé includes several top-level international appointments, previously served as managing director of British Gas, the United Kingdom's largest energy and services business, and was on the main board of Centrica Plc from November 2000 to June 2013.
In an email interview with The Gleaner, Bentley said LIME is investing US$250 million over the next three years in fixed and mobile network upgrades and expansion. This in response to an observation that in spite of extensive penetration of cell phones islandwide, Internet access was still not at a desirable level.
"As we speak," Bentley added, " LIME is delivering faster 4G HSPA+ mobile Internet technology to more people in more places across Jamaica under a US$79 million allocation from that total spend. We recently welcomed parts of the central parishes of Manchester and Clarendon to our enhanced network," he said.
Additionally, LIME just announced the Broadband Expansion Project on its fixed line platform that will deliver quadruple speeds so that customers can do more through advanced connectivity. Bentley said the telecoms company will leverage its more robust fixed line Internet backbone to deliver LIME TV subscriber television service during the next fiscal year. For enterprise customers, LIME will also roll out more fibre optic connections farther and deeper into the places they expand to.
Ever cognisant of the corporate social responsibility component of its plan, Bentley told The Gleaner that more than 300 primary schools particularly in rural Jamaica, stay connected through the free Internet in schools, project, under the auspices of the LIME Foundation. He said all these forward-thinking initiatives are in full alignment with LIME's and the Government's overall goal to increase broadband penetration throughout Jamaica, thereby improving Jamaica's ranking on the Caribbean ICT Indicators Survey.
Having assumed his new role in January of this year and with such an impressive track record of accomplishments in previous posts, a lot is expected of Bentley. Asked what was his strategy and how long it would take him to deliver the anticipated growth in mobile data and high speed broadband to Jamaica, he said:
"We are already on that growth path. LIME has opened up the gateway to growth in mobile data and high-speed broadband by offering the Jamaican market best-value plans and affordable pricing. In mobile, we've lowered the price of entry-level Smartphones like the Huawei Y330, occasionally as low as $3,999 plus GCT, and received overwhelmingly positive demand for the device which is arguably the most desired handset for persons who want Internet-on-the-go but are on a tight budget."
He also noted that, to help consumers stretch their dollar even further, LIME's popular Browse and Talk product continues to deliver the equivalent talk-time dollar for every dollar spent on the monthly fixed line Internet service. He said that, based on this positive momentum and LIME'S significant investments to enhance services, they would solidify their leadership and full delivery of these services to more consumers within the next three years.
And with the hectic schedule of travel that comes with this and other positions that Bentley has held over the years, does it take a toll on himself and his family? Bentley said the schedule requires sacrifices, but he is always inspired by the challenges of a turnaround. "I find creativity in what I do and quite like the telecoms industry," he said.