The cost of telecommunications services in Barbados is going up high.
The Irish-based Digicel this month began transferring customers from one of its “bundled and broadband-only plans” to a replacement plan with higher rates, while its main domestic competitor Flow has put its customers on notice of price hike come next month.
Effective July 1, Flow’s broadband and mobile customers who presently subscribe to its Medium Plus postpaid plan, will have to pay $5 more on their monthly bills.
Meanwhile, the cost of landline services will increase between $2.46 and $3.48 per month.
So far, the company has not given a reason for the price hikes.
However, these changes come amid a possible take over by Flow of Ozone Wireless, which is the third and newest competitor in the local telecoms market. The buy out would therefore significantly strengthen the hand of Flow, which is the local trading name for the former monopoly provider United Kingdom-based Cable & Wireless, which is now owned by Liberty Global out of the United States.
Earlier this week, Barbados TODAY reported that Ozone, which opened here in July last year promising lower prices, had either severed or lost several of its key staff members since April.
Well placed sources said the company was experiencing financial challenges over the past several months and was forced to lay off at least two batches of workers, the latest of whom were given their ‘green papers’ last week, and were drawn mainly from the retail and administrative staff.
In the case of Digicel, whose increases were initially due to take effect in mid May but were delayed until this month, said the decision to switch customers to a new plan, which carries a higher price, formed part of the company’s “global transformation programme, Digicel 2030”.
“The core elements of Digicel 2030 includes looking at every aspect of how we do business and making a commitment to delivering a superior superfast network experience,” the company said in its notice, adding that “with these plans you can boast of having the best in-home Internet experience around as we will be increasing the broadband speed on all packages”.
For example, customers who had a 30 Mbps Play Fast bundle costing $115 per month, the replacement plan of 40 Mbps will now cost them $120 monthly.
However, some of Digicel’s changes will result in customers paying as much as $30 more per month.
The broadband-only Play plan with a fibre speed of 350/175Mbps costing $195 per month will be replaced with a fibre speed 480/140Mbps plan costing $225 per month while customers subscribing to Digicel’s Play Strong will pay $17 more per month and those with Play Big bundles with 350Mbps of speed will pay $20 more.