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Digicel blames Government for decline in Jamaican market

Published:Friday | December 13, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Amid reports of falling revenue in Jamaica and across its markets, Digicel Group blamed taxes and other policies of the Jamaican Government while coming out in strong defence of its customer base.

Group revenues reportedly fell by US$7 million to US$691 million (J$71 billion) in the three months to the end of September 2013, according to a November report in the Irish Times.

"While overall revenues fell slightly, it was an improved performance on the previous three months to the end of June, when Digicel made a net loss of about US$11 million (J$1.132 billion)," the Irish Times reported, saying its story was based on financial statements which, it said, were sent to the company's bondholders.

Digicel distanced itself from the news report when questioned by the Financial Gleaner.

"In terms of your specific questions on our financials, we don't comment publicly on our financial affairs and we don't know where the Irish Times received its information from - since we don't circulate financials publicly," said Antonia Graham, head of group public relations.

Revenues in Jamaica were reported to have fallen by nine per cent to US$107 million (J$11 billion).

Digicel told the Financial Gleaner that government taxes and policies had also contributed to the decline.

"Our Jamaica business has been adversely impacted by the depreciation of the Jamaica dollar against the US dollar, the impact of government taxes imposed on the telecommunications industry, and the impact of imposed reductions in mobile termination rates by the OUR," Graham said.

"That said, our subscriber base is as strong as it ever was and our loyal customers clearly recognise the value, network quality and technical superiority we are proud to continuously deliver," she said.