Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
Telecoms provider cuts prices to $6.99 per minute
FLOW IS the latest telecommunications provider to announce a reduction in telephone rates resulting from the recent decision by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) to establish a cap of $5 per minute for mobile termination rates for incoming domestic and international telephone calls, which took effect yesterday.
In a press release yesterday, Flow announced that as of July 15, calls from its landlines to a local mobile number will be billed at only $6.99 per minute. The rate will apply for Flow's residential postpaid and prepaid landline service across all calling periods. The company claims the reduced rates will result in savings to customers as high as 30 per cent on calls from Flow's digital landline telephones to local mobile phones.
Previously, Flow to Digicel calls cost $7.50 during peak hours and $6.50 during off-peak hours. Flow to LIME was $9.50.
Michele English, chief operating officer of Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, the operator of the Flow brand, explained that the company has always focused on ensuring that customers get the best value for money.
"Since our launch, we have been able to provide our customers with the best pricing on landline telephone service, including being the only telephone service provider offering 100 per cent free on-network calls (Flow to Flow), lower calling rates to call LIME landlines than LIME charges for its own on-network calls and truly unlimited international calls to the most frequently called destinations," said English. "Our move to reduce these calling rates is just another step to fulfilling our promise to always deliver the best value to our customers," she added.
Last month, telecoms provider LIME took the decision to slash call rates by up to two-thirds when it announced a reduction in cross-network rates from $12 to $6.99 for prepaid and postpaid, while on-network rates were dropped from $8 to $2.99 and $1.99 for prepaid and postpaid, respectively. LIME said the move became possible as a result of the regulatory rate drops and a massive write-off of mobile assets allowed.
Competitor Digicel then fired back, slashing its rate to $2.89 per minute. Cross-network rate was reduced to $6.99 per minute. Digicel to LIME mobile rates were $14.20 and $1.80 during peak and off-peak periods, respectively, as at January 2012.
In announcing its rate reduction yesterday, Columbus Communications noted that since launching service in Jamaica six years ago, it has consistently provided consumers with cutting-edge technology that has transformed how they use the Internet, experience cable television and communicate across the landline telephone network.
The company claims it offers the fastest Internet speeds and has influenced a reduction in the cost for Internet service by over 90 per cent. In addition, the company says it offers Jamaica's only fully digital cable service with the most (more than 280) channels available.