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Digicel Facing Increased Competition in Jamaican Heartland

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Pan Caribbean operator, Digicel controlled by Irishman Denis O'Brien is facing increased competition in Jamaica as America Movil plans to ramp up its local subsidiary, MiPhone, which it purchased last August.

According to Ireland's Independent newspaper - citing unnamed sources - America Movil is planning to undertake a massive network expansion plan in Jamaica which will provide the platform for its newly acquired MiPhone to aggressively compete against Digicel & Cable and Wireless, the other main operator in the Caribbean.

It is expected that Movil will have over twice as many mobile sites than are currently in operation by April, which will give MiPhone the coverage it needs to take on the other two players.

According to the Mobile World, Digicel is currently the largest operator in Jamaica, with an estimated 1.8 million subscribers. Former incumbent operator C&W is not far behind with 1.2 million customers - but this is hampered by the fact that its base is split almost equally between a new GSM network, and two legacy AMPS and TDMA networks. MiPhone, a CDMA operator trails with just 162,000 subscribers. All figures are for their estimated subscriber bases at the end of last September.

Digicel's arrival in the Jamaican market, and later in other nations around The Caribbean has shaken up the sluggish markets which were typically dominated by Cable & Wireless and a few small companies. However, an aggressive push by America Movil is expected to significantly lower tariffs and affect the profitability of Digicel, which has relied on the high profit margins in Jamaica to fund its expansion into other markets.

On the web: The Independent - The Mobile World

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Tags: america movil  compete  digicel  tdma  caribbean  Jamaica