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More Competition Needed in Telecoms Market -ICT analyst

Published:Wednesday | November 25, 2015 | 11:00 AM

The reduction in the number of players operating in the telecommunications market does not sit well with Patrick Anglin, senior technology officer in the office of the Chief Information Officer at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

Anglin contends that the recent merger of Lime and Flow reduces the number of players in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector and in his view is a step in the wrong direction.

"A serious threat to the Jamaican ICT sector is poor service delivery from our telecoms companies. The fact that, on the provider-side, there is a duopoly is cause for concern and without sounding alarmist, it needs to be addressed by facilitating more players to increase competition which, as we have seen in other markets, leads to better service delivery often at a lower price," he said in an e-mail response to The Gleaner.

Anglin said the Government should move to introduce more competition in the telecoms market by providing incentives and subsidies.

"There needs to be greater emphasis on broadening the ICT sector to the non-urban centres through, among other things, enabling a more competitive telecoms sector with participants given incentives (and yes, subsidies) to provide good quality broadband service to areas where it might not, at first, seem economical to do so," he added.

The ICT analyst said such incentives can serve as a means of expanding ICT services to rural areas.

He pointed out that the Jamaican ICT sector is concentrated in the urban centres, namely Kingston and St Andrew and Montego Bay, and that it might not be benefiting from the talented resident in the rural areas.

According to Anglin, the gap in the delivery of ICT services to rural areas can be filled by technology start ups.

"The Government should provide greater incentive to tech start-ups. I look forward to a technology/innovation park to assist start-ups and provide a concentrated ecosystem for tech entrepreneurs," he said.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com