Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cable&Wireless Jamaica to invest US$5 million in 150 retail outlets

In a move aimed at significantly enhancing its retail presence, Cable & Wireless Jamaica (CWJ) is investing US$5 million over the next 12 months to roll out some 150 full-service retail outlets across the island.

"We have a very agressive strategy to increase our retail presence by opening new stores and improving our existing outlets to make sure that we have access to every consumer in every parish," said CWJ chief commercial officer, Mariano Doble, at Wednesday's opening of one of the outlets on Half Way Tree Road in Kingston.

Branded "Lifestyle Stores", CWJ is opening 50 new retail outlets and renovating 100 existing dealer locations, whose product offering, Doble says, will encompass the traditional fixed line phones and mobile handsets, to include a full range of gadgets and electronic devices.

Three other stores were launched on Wednesday in New Kingston, Ocho Rios and in the Half Way Tree Transport centre, and another 16 will be unveild by the end of April.

Doble told Caribbean Business Report that this is part of an overall strategy to redefine the image of CWJ, and position the company as the premier full-service provider in the local telecoms market.

"We really developed a 360 degree strategy around the experience that we want to deliver on the market, and this is the first step in that direction," he said. "Basically the strategy is to position Cable & Wireless as the only real full service provider in Jamaica - one place where you can meet all your communication needs.

"We used an outwards-inwards approach rather than inwards-outwards (in developing the concept)," added the chief commercial officer. "We are saying that we know what you want; tell us what is your need and what is your lifestyle, and we will tell you what products are right for you."

Xesus Johnston, CWJ vice president of business development and sales, disclosed to this newspaper that during the quarter, CWJ will also seek to penetrate the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) markets, with a full portfolio directed towards the needs of small business owners.

"The hottest market in business right now is the SME market and Jamaica has one of the most vibrant SME market," said Johnston, who noted that the portfolio will be a combination of mobile, fixed lines and data requirements. "This is a market that we will tap into and there is a whole new portfolio that we are going to roll out just for SME customers. Around May to June you will start seeing new products."

This move by CWJ is very timely, as the company continues to face stiff competition in the Caribbean from other telecoms, especially from Irish company, Digicel. In fact, last year, Cable and Wireless invested £78 million across the Caribbean to improve the customer experience. The company also introduced a range of services such as eTopUp, international pre-pay roaming and Netspeak.

Jamaica opened its telecommunications sector in 2002 after more than 40 years of monopoly by Cable & Wireless. The telecom remains the leading provider of fixed-line service in the Caribbean nation, but is No 2 in cellular service behind Digicel, which launched in 2001.

Julian Richardson
Friday, April 18, 2008
The Jamaica Observer

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