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Caribbean Prepaid Mobile Tariffs Higher 3.5% YoY

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Signals Telecom Consulting says that the Caribbean Basin mobile telecommunications market continues to evolve as new entrants arrive, new technologies such as WiMAX and UMTS HSPA are launched, and convergence becomes the main target of market players.

"It's amazing how all these changes have not yet translated into more sophisticated pricing schemes focused on boosting value added services usage by prepaid mobile subscribers. Caribbean operators still prioritize tariff differentiation between "On Net/Off Net" traffic and the provision of differentiated rates for "peak" and "off peak" hours as their core price strategy" affirmed Luciana Logioco, coauthor of a new report from Signals Telecom Consulting.

Caribbean operators need to face reality; most Caribbean markets surpass 90% mobile penetration.

"Digicel is an operator that will have to adjust to this environment and start considering either the launch of aggressive pricing strategies directed at boosting mobile traffic or increase its differentiation in the market through the launch on new products/services. The fact is that Digicel is not the cheaper alternative in several markets. For example, as of 4Q07 Digicel's "On Net" tariffs in markets like Bermuda, Jamaica and Turks & Caicos among others were higher than the "Off Net" rates offered by its competitors. As market reach saturation, this strategy will become unsustainable" added Carlos Blanco, co-author of the report and Director of Market Research at Signals Telecom Consulting.

"Although there's have been little no to change on prepaid mobiles services plans during the last 12 months, increased competitive pressure will force operators to change their approach. One year ago, in Aruba, Setar and Digicel had almost identical service plans and rates and now there's a clear difference in price. Thus, the arrival of competition to Suriname and the acquisition of Jamaica's MiPhone by America Movil will reshuffle these markets' pricing scheme status quo", concluded Jose F. Otero, co-author of the report and President of Signals Telecom Consulting.

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Tags: signals telecom consulting  america movil  digicel  value added services  caribbean