“We have made a bold move but we think it’s the right move and we think it’s a move that will better able to serve customers”.
Those were the words issued by Geraldine Pitt, CEO of LIME Southern cluster as she sought to reassure customers of their value to LIME in the wake of the merger between her company and FLOW.
LIME held a media briefing at the company’s Mt Hartman office last week Friday where reporters were given an indepth insight into the merger between Cable and Wireless and Columbus Communications.
The merger was first announced last month when Cable and Wireless indicated that it was a move aimed at providing more efficient, effective and innovative services to customers.
Pitt told local reporters that the LIME/FLOW merger is no where close to being finalized as yet as Cable and Wireless has to make sure that the regulators and Governments in the region have an input.
She said they have been meeting with regulators and Government officials to find out what their positions are about the merger and why LIME sees it as a good initiative for the people of Grenada.
She explained what the initiative would seek to cover.
“A lot of it focuses on the customer experience, being able to provide a quality of service that’s superior to the one each of us currently provides. Leveraging the strength of two very good brands in the Caribbean to come together to be able to improve the level of service we provide to customers as we go through the process,” she said.
According to Pitt, customers have quite a lot of questions about what
the merger means for them because some people still have in mind the old Cable and Wireless brand.
“The new thing that most people are not referring to is that this is a fairly new company. The leadership of the company is a fairly new company; it’s no more than 4 years old. There has been quite a turnaround in the management, the senior leadership of Cable and Wireless and FLOW of course (is) relatively new to the region and to our islands as well…”, she remarked.
“…That in itself should speak to the fact that this is going to be different. Clearly we have learnt from the past and we do not intend to repeat the mistake of the past but we also understand that customers deserve a whole lot more and that’s the reason we are doing this,” she said.
Pitt pointed out that Cable and Wireless and Columbus Communications are stronger together and once they become one unit, they will provide services to customers that they have never experienced before.
“We are doing this to take a compelling proposition to the market – how can we come together and strengthen the offering that we give to customers from a point of view of whether its TV, broadband – continuing along the line where we bring the mobile arm to the business but how do we now leverage all of this various aspects of the business to provide you with a superior experience and in most cases a seamless experience”, she told reporters.
“…We also understand that from a Government and a business sector point of view this also spells good news because what it does, it allows us to leverage the strength of the band in terms of ICT Service, business services, strengthen our portfolio, not just our portfolio of products and services but certainly the expertise of employees of both companies, their technical expertise, their certification, everything else that they bring collectively together as a group and how we can now leverage that to better serve the business community,’ she said.
Pitt stated that LIME believes that its proposed merger with Columbus Communications will improve the competitive environment because in a number of countries the competition has already expressed explicitly that they intend to get into broadband field as they have acquired television channel.
“For us it’s a matter of time but we want to be ahead of the game.
It’s important for us to be leading on this – we want to be leading on the front when it comes to telecommunications in the Caribbean and …. coming together can bring our customers more benefits than if we operate as two separate companies”, she said.
“…But even after we are doing that one would still say we are still at number two when it comes to telecommunications in the Caribbean because the competition is much larger than we are in spite of what lots of people may think or what you may have heard in the last weeks,” she added.
Pitt sought to assure the public that there are many benefits to come out of the merger especially in terms of international outreach and ICT development.
“What does that mean for foreign direct investment coming in and knowing that each of those islands have a very strong platform on which their ICT services can sit and that’s where we see ourselves in being able to serve that community very well”, she said.
“…For us in terms of looking at the way we look at television, being able to take these two arms of the business and put them together so we can start doing creative and innovative services and products like being able to bring TV to your mobile phones. How do we now join these things together to have a more seamless experience for our customers,” she explained.
According to Pitt, there will be changes as a result of the merger but it will be beneficial to both employees and customers.
“We are going to look at the services that both companies are able to provide and at every juncture and every opportunity being able to provide the customers with the best of both worlds. We want to be able to say to our customers, we are fundamentally different, we understand the needs, we understand the circumstances, we understand the climate in which we do business in….”, she said.
“… We are talking about how we are able to serve our communities better as well but from a customers point of view directly it’s creativity in the services that we are able to provide and how we now going to come together and provide you with the best solutions – whether it’s the product itself, whether it’s the pricing of the product but clearly to do things very different than we have done before,” she added.
The Cable & Wireless/FLOW merger has caused some consternation from another major player in the telecommunications market – the Irish-owned firm Digicel.