The American telecommunications and television company Liberty Global has promised to tackle the competition head-on.
Following the announcement that the British-based company had completed its acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) in a US$7.4 billion deal, including the company’s debt, Chief Executive Officer Michael Fries acknowledged that competition was the name of the game in the industry.
However, he pledged that one of the major focuses of Liberty Global would be on ensuring customers were happy and were getting value for money.
When quizzed about the companies feeling on the competition being provided by over-the-top content providers and Digicel’ 4G network, Fries simply said: “Digicel is a tremendous competitor and we like that kind of challenge.
“On the TV side of the business we have invested considerable amount of money in a very innovative advanced TV platform in Europe . . . So we think that we can bring a lot of value added to Flow TV. We think that there is an opportunity there to make sure that Flow TV customers have the best technology [and] the best user experiences.”
Current data shows that together CWC and Liberty Group have over ten million subscribers spanning video, broadband, telephony and mobile services.
Interim Chief Executive Officer of CWC John Reid said he saw Digicel as “certainly a capable competitor”, but quickly added that it boiled down to customer experience and the quality of service being offered.
However, he added that in relation to the video side of the business there was perhaps a need for more education on the services being offered by Flow.
“We have a good network constructed across the region that can handle any of the services that our competitors want to operate as well. So it will come down to the value, the customer experience from end to end and that is where our focus will continue to be. And it will be tremendously successful if we can continue with that strategy,” Reid maintained.
The duo also announced that the company would develop partnerships in Barbados and the rest of the region to provide targeted contents and market specific contents for the tourism market as well as free Wi-Fi hotspots.
Reid pointed out that following the hiccups during the initial phase of transition of customers from the old network to fibre optic, there had been a rise in the number of subscribers.
Adding that the migration of all customers was expected to be completed by the end of this year, Reid said all the issues were ironed out last fall.
“So we had a good Christmas and we are starting off the year strong. It is a competitive environment as you know and certainly when you have competitors you have some ebbs and flows and if you go across our business lines, our video subscriber base is stabilized, our broadband subscriber base is stabilized, and we are seeing an opportunity on the mobile side.
“So in any market when you have multiple players there are going to be days when you do better than other days but the long term prospects for Barbados are strong as anywhere else in the region,” Reid assured.
Speaking specifically about the new product for the tourism industry, Reid said it was about providing the “right” content and technology platform in order to improve quality and customer access.
“So we are in the early days of finalizing the platform that we certainly think will add some value to our partners, and again ensuring that our mobile customer visitors . . . wherever they are coming from, can use our infrastructure and get a good service,” Reid said.