Let the price war begin! LIME launches tariff offensive; MNP due before year end

18 Jun 2012

In the wake of the Office of Utilities Regulation’s (OUR’s) decision to level mobile termination rates (MTRs) at JMD5 (USD0.05) per minute, LIME Jamaica has cut its on-net call rates to JMD2.99 per minute for pre-paid customers and JMD1.99 per minute for subscribers on post-paid contracts. According to Stabroek news, the head of legal and regulatory affairs at LIME, Rochelle Cameron said that the plan was sustainable, adding: ‘This is an aggressive move and we promised it. This is what people were waiting for.’ Since the controversial merger of its two rivals, Digicel Jamaica and Claro Jamaica, LIME has suffered a drop in its subscriber base and market share: according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database LIME represented just 17.2% of the market at end-March 2012 compared to Digicel’s 82.8%. The cellco’s managing director Gary Sinclair was optimistic however that the new rates will reverse its fortunes, saying: ‘We will not reveal our targets but let’s say that this will pull in legions of new subscribers.’

Pouring fuel on the competitive fire, Jamaica’s technology minister Phillip Paulwell announced that mobile number portability (MNP) would introduced by December. Paulwell said: ‘The law that we passed recently allows now for number portability to be effected, and we intend to have that done during the course of this calendar year.’ With the introduction of MNP, and further revisions of MTRs under way to level the playing field, Paulwell added that customers should ‘anticipate a period of very hectic and fierce competition.’