The latest entrant into the domestic telecommunications market, Ozone Wireless Inc., says it is pleased with the response it has been getting from Barbadian consumers, ahead of Monday’s official roll out of its services.
In fact, Chief Executive Officer Sylvain Tassé told reporters Friday he was expecting nothing short of a “mad rush” when the company’s mobile services goes live on July 17.
“We expect a mad rush indeed. We have heard from many people [and] there hasn’t been one single individual I have met in the last four months that has said there is no interest for them to move to another carrier.
“So I think that we are going to be attracting a new crowd. There is always that early adopters that are out there. . . [but] we believe it is going to be a mad rush coming over here over the next months,” he said, while hailing the firm’s Manor Lodge headquarters as an ideal location.
The company, which was granted a licence three years ago to operate here, has so far pumped about $20 million into its operations, which will be in the wireless mobile market.
It also has plans to hire over 50 people –– over 90 per cent of whom it says will be Barbadians.
While the company also intends to aggressively go after the business that is currently held by Flow and Digicel, Tassé made it clear Friday that it was not focused on any “price war” with its competitors, but offering value for money to the Barbadian consumer.
“I am not interested in how [our competitors] are going to react. We are interested in how Barbadians are going to react,” the CEO said while announcing a seven-day prepaid plan for $12 and three 30-day prepaid data plans (3 -12 GB), costing between $30 and $60.
Postpaid plans range in price from $25 to $55 for 3GB- 12GB of data. The company is also offering a personal Wi-Fi device – Mifi at competitive prices and 60 cent per minute calls to other Caribbean countries, the USA, Canada, UK and Ireland. based on per second billing. Incoming calls from a fixed line is billed at 50 cents per minute.
While assuring Barbadians of highly competitive prices, he said the company took into account the increase in Value Added Tax from 17.5 to 22 per cent that was set over a year ago on talk time.
“We are here to do business, so we are not just here to grab market share. We are here to make a difference and I am extremely passionate about it and so is my team as well.
“We believe strongly that we will be making a difference and that we will change the lifestyle and at the end of the day you will be using your devices and get more money in your pocket,” he added.
He said the company remained confident in the Barbados economy despite its current fiscal challenges.
“Our level of confidence is great. We can’t control what the local economy is like. The investment was already done. My personal take on this is that we are coming in at a really good time for Barbadians.
“We are going to save you money. We are going to give you more value in your pocket and you are not going to have to chase hotspots to make that long-distance call that you want,” he added.
Customers will be able to recharge their credit at the company’s Manor Lodge location, and will have access to over 600 more locations in coming days. The company is also expected to add at least two more store locations in the next two years.
Ozone currently has cell sites covering about 80 per cent of the island and that is expected to increase over time.
Its phone numbers will be easily recognizable as they will begin with 696.
Tassé said while number portability was not yet ready, the company would try its best to ensure customers maintain the last four digits of their old cell numbers if they wished to make the switch.