Our Readers' Opinions
July 22, 2005
Is there any difference between Digicel and C&W?

Editor: I have been noticed a trend about Digicel which has led me to presume that, basically, there isn’t much of a difference between Digicel and Cable & Wireless.

The only exception is that Digicel seems to be more tactical and disguised whereas Cable & Wireless appears blatantly inconsiderate. {{more}}

There we were struggling with the monopoly’s services and charges, then came Digicel; raising the bar with its services and costs. The public relations department was all too aware of the stakes and immediately thrust the company into the limelight in a positively new way, as the company that appreciates its customers and cares for its communities sponsoring event after event.

For those of us who know the basic principles of business, we are cognizant that investment pays dividends – Digicel lost nothing from the sponsorships.

Furthermore, what they were giving back, was an oh so small part of what they received from our patronage.

But what apparently happened is that the management got so ‘brilliant’ that, through its public relations department, it is telling us that it is sponsoring this worthy project/event, when the truth of the matter is that the so called sponsorship of the event is really a profit making thing.

If the company sponsors an event, sure enough, it will reap its dividends – such as it did through the Rising Star Competition and is seeking to do through the present Windies tour of Sri Lanka.

Many raised their hands above their heads and applauded Digicel for the initiative of the Caribbean competition. But, few took the time to question or rationalize at how successful Digicel apparently was as they walked under the guise of ‘sponsors’ of the competition. It apparently was a deliberate plan to scrape money from all over the Caribbean that Digicel staged the competition, with the avenue of giving the people a ‘voice’ in the outcome, only that you paid EC$1 for the one or two words that you spoke, every-time you voted for a candidate. What other rationale is there to go with?

Excessive charges

If that company was truly concerned about its community, as it made it out to appear through the ‘sponsorship’ of the Rising Star Competition, it would not have excessively charged excited Caribbean fans, whom it knew will vote, one whole dollar to cast one vote, every-time.

Some people in the Caribbean don’t live on much more than $1 a day. But, the customers and even the contestants of the competition were apparently not their main concern. It would be very interesting to know just how many votes were cast throughout the entire Caribbean, during each round of voting. I hope I am not misunderstood; I wasn’t against the competition or its host. In fact I wish that the company would host the competition next year, if nothing else for the opportunity it gives the contestants. But, Digicel, don’t tell us that it is your way of ‘giving back’ when the fact is – you are taking tenfold. If in staging the competition we must pay to vote, it must only be a few cents, as we do to text.

40 cents a score

I was somewhat willing to stomach the aforementioned deed. But this thing about customers paying 40 cents to get a simple cricket score, rattled it all. And is this what Digicel is requesting throughout the Caribbean? How much money does Digicel really want to leave us with if Caribbean cricket fans have to request an updated score every half-an hour, hour or two?

Cricket is the premier sport of the Caribbean and there are no ifs nor maybes, fans are going to request the score (especially if they are winning). But, must we pay 40 cents every time we do? Surely, you are the sponsors of Windies cricket and you have to get something as your return. But remember – kill us and you will lose in the long run. This masquerading madness has got to stop. We must not pay more than 10 cents to get our cricket score.

I refused to participate in your Rising Star voting scheme, the very same way I will continue to refuse paying 40 cents to get cricket scores.

If you think the aforementioned were not ridiculous, consider Digicel’s exploitative technique last Wednesday while we were preparing for Hurricane Emily.

Even at that moment when Digicel could have used its technology to provide such crucial information as a service to the public, it instead resorted to use it as an occasion to cash-in on the unfortunate occurrence of the then approaching storm, by asking customers to pay 40 cents for ‘right weather information.’

Who really are these people? Are they the competition that we craved?

Whichever conclusion you arrive at, be assured that they are always more concerned about deepening their pockets, than they are about their customers. Make no mistake about that!

Y. E. Williams