Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Separation clause gives Claro dealers new hope

Published:Sunday | September 4, 2011 | 12:00 AM
A Claro promotion ball sits in the background at the Claro Supa Fun Day held January 1. The company will exit the Jamaican market when its deal with Digicel Group closes. - File
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Yisraeline Geddes, the chief spokesperson for Claro dealers, has endorsed Prime Minister Bruce Golding's edict to reject the planned integration of Claro Jamaica and Digicel Jamaica's networks, saying the separation could revive business for the dealers.

"We would have a better chance in that scenario. It is a workable scenario - the better option of the two," said Geddes last Thursday. "I am waiting to hear more on that."

The local Claro dealers have seen their businesses wane as the closing of the acquisition deal drags on beyond its original June deadline.

Geddes operates CymOne Limited, a dealership which reduced its store count from five to three. Claro services are sold from at least 23 locations nationwide.

Digicel Group is selling two Central American businesses to America Móvil and buying its Claro operation in Jamaica. Digicel's acquisition of Claro Jamaica gives it access to a 3G network and 517,000 additional customers.

Despite Golding's announce-ment last Wednesday approving the Jamaican component on condition that the two networks continue to operate separately, the dealers remain uncertain.

"The market has died," said Geddes. "And Claro is not talking at all... . We are still uncertain until we get clear word from Claro."

The Sunday Gleaner also contacted Claro dealers Mobile 1 and Royal Computers & Accessories, but both owners referred Sunday Business to Geddes.

Dealers losing business

Last month, Claro dealers wrote an open letter to the Office of the Prime Minister, and secondly, to Claro about their concerns regarding the merger.

The dealers said they have been losing business since March when the deal was first disclosed.

As part of the deal, Digicel will be required to fulfil all of the obligations contained in the Claro licence.

Honduras and El Salvador are yet to announce their decisions on the deal.

Digicel began operations 10 years ago in Jamaica and expanded into some 32 countries over the decade. The company last year reported US$2.23 billion in revenue and a subscriber base of 11.5 million, more than two million of them in Jamaica.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com