Combined revenues from Jamaica's telecommunications companies hit $14 billion in the June 2011 quarter, up 13 per cent over year-earlier levels, according to just-released data by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).
The quarterly report for the telecoms sector entities indicates that with double-digit growth for the market, they have far outpaced economic growth as the country exited from three years of recession.
The OUR collects data as part of its remit, but delays the publication, arguably to avoid advantaging competitors. The report amalgamates revenues from LIME, Claro Jamaica, Digicel Jamaica, Infochannel Limited and Flow Jamaica.
Last year, Digicel acquired the Jamaica, operations of rival Claro Jamaica and in March this year shut down that operation.
Mobile telephone revenues were the only service that suffered a decline in the quarter, down 2.3 per cent to $8.79 billion. Fixed-line revenues, at $3.5 billion, and internet revenues, at $1.6 billion, increased 36 per cent and 138 per cent, respectively.
Internet revenues increased despite a 2.2 per cent decrease in the subscriber base to some 117,800. The OUR indicated that it continued to receive incomplete data on internet services and as such avoided commenting on why revenues increased by such a significant amount.
"The submission of Internet-related data trailed that for mobile and fixed-line services, and as such, information necessary for a thorough assessment for this section continues to be lacking," the OUR report said.
Despite the 36 per cent rise in fixed-line revenues, the number of subscribers fell in the quarter to around 278,800, down 7.6 per cent over year-earlier levels. Both LIME and Digicel operate fixed-line services.
Jamaicans own slightly fewer mobile phones at three million subscriptions, down three per cent over year-earlier levels.
The decline of prepaid customers, by four per cent to 2.8 million, saw a corresponding rise of 41 per cent rise in post-paid customers to 146,000.
In addition, average revenue per user remained flat at $2,647, but SMS messaging revenues jumped 32 per cent to $1.1 billion.
The rise in fixed-line revenue was mainly attributable to a spike in international call minutes to 1.3 billion, up more than 13 times, or 1,328 per cent, over year-earlier levels. There was no explanation in the report for the drastic rise.
"International calls generated the most revenue during the review quarter. Notwithstanding what the usage (above) would suggest, it was incoming international calls, rather than outgoing, that contributed most to revenue uptake, with revenue from incoming international calls amounting to $1.6 billion," stated the report.
Digicel, the market leader in mobile services, as well as LIME, did not respond to queries up to press time.