Jamaica’s smallest wireless operator, Oceanic Digital Jamaica, has revealed plans to roll out services to 70% of the island’s population by the end of 2004, meeting the targets stipulated in its licence agreement. The cellco, which hopes to increase the figure to 100% by 2006, said it will use a USD30 million loan which it recently secured from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDE) to help fund the expansion.
Oceanic Digital competes with Cable & Wireless Jamaica and Digicel in the country’s wireless market, claiming around 70,000 subscribers at the end of 2003 and a market share of 4.61%. At the same date Digicel held 55.92% of the market with 850,000 customers, with C&W taking the remaining 39.47% with 600,000. Oceanic first launched services in Jamaica in November 2001, having been awarded a CDMA licence the previous year, but subsequently ran into difficulties when its US-based parent company suffered financial problems during the technology slump. The cellco claims to be back on track now, however, and hopes that the expansion will help to consolidate its position in the wireless market and gain ground on its rivals. It has also hinted that it may launch a wireless dial-up internet access service in the next few years. Both its rivals already offer this service, giving them an advantage, but Oceanic says that its CDMA network can deliver faster internet connections than the GSM systems used by its competitors. It is currently reported to be involved in talks with the Jamaica Postal Corporation to offer the service at post offices across the country.