Digicel customers in Saint Lucia have received a belated Christmas, or early New Year’s gift, in the form of a text message today. The not so sweet text simply states, “From Feb 1 there will be a price increase on your Digicel postpaid bill with full details available on our website from Jan 1. Thank you for choosing Digicel.”
Meanwhile, subscribers in Barbados received a similar message yesterday, as reported in the online publication Barbados Today. According to the report, “Digicel said it would be increasing its rates for prepaid and postpaid mobile, as well as for its data services. The changes to the prepaid rates take effect on January 3, 2017 and those for postpaid on February 1, 2017.”
This increase comes in rather quick time on the heels of a report by independent research provider CreditSights which stated that Digicel is facing an uncertain future due to high debt, currency fluctuations and a change in consumer behaviour.
The report, which was published in the Irish Examiner, quoted CreditSights analyst Michael Chakardijan as saying in London that Digicel’s high debt levels of more than $6 billion left little room for manoeuvre.
ONELUCIAN News reported on December 19, 2016 on Digicel’s financial outlook as stated by debt analyst Michael Chakardjian of CreditSights, and had asked, “What will be the repercussions for Digicel operations in the Caribbean and elsewhere?”
Despite its denial, is this current rate increase a sign of the huge debt burden of US$6.2 billion on Digicel’s shoulders? This is certainly not chump change for any carrier and can only be expected for customers to bear the pains of corrective measures. The next question – what about staff?
Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and has 14 million customers in its markets which comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.