Thu | Apr 25, 2019

Mobile rivals clash on subscriber count

Published:Friday | July 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Claro Jamaica says it has grown its customer base by 100,000 subscribers in the first calendar quarter, and that it has amassed a total of 400,000 new clients since its market entry.

The telecoms firm also said its new business came at the expense of LIME Jamaica and Digicel Jamaica, some of whose clients have switched to its network.

Claro has not disclosed its subscriber numbers, but says its count of network traffic places Digicel's base at 1.6 million, and not the two million being reported, and that Digicel added only 60,000 new customers last year.

The company said it also had numbers for LIME, but said it was not prepared to disclose them.

Digicel has slapped down the claim that its subscriber numbers are inflated, saying its traffic count gives a different reading.

Digicel said last month that its Jamaican market grew by three per cent.

Assuming that Claro's 60,000 new customer count for Digicel is correct, and that Digicel's growth claim is also correct, the number does represent growth of three per cent from a two million base.

Colin Webster, Claro's information technology director, told Financial Gleaner in April that Claro counts its subscriber numbers based on active customers, not SIM card purchases.

"If your SIM is not used in 90 days, we don't count you in our numbers, and that is what makes the difference," the Claro executive said.

"We base our count on our 90-day number and we have methods of measuring active customers within our network."

But Digicel Jamaica's chief executive officer says its count is based on a shorter time horizon.

"We monitor our numbers over a 30-day period," he told the Financial Gleaner at a function to honour Digicel's business clients on Monday.

"If we were accounting for our users over 90 days as they are, it would be a lot more."

Surveying the market

Digicel's subscriber count is based on the amount of top-ups, calls and the SMS facility utilised, Linehan said.

The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) does not independently survey the market, but tracks subscriptions via reports from the companies.

The disclosures are treated as confidential, with the OUR saying its agreement with the companies denies it the freedom to verify or refute claims of market share.

The regulator last reported subscriber numbers of 2.88 million at September 2009.

Claro, which entered the Jamaican market in 2007 through the acquisition of Oceanic Digital Jamaica by ultimate parent America Movil, has, according to marketing manager Joseph Oates set a goal of yearend 2011 to unseat Digicel as the No 1 telecom company in this market.

mark.titus@gleanerjm.com