Business

LIME Ja praised for 37% increase in 1Q mobile revenues

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 30, 2014    

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CABLE & Wireless Communications (CWC), the parent company of LIME, has lauded the Jamaica operations for achieving June 2014 first-quarter growth in mobile revenues up 37 per cent over year earlier levels.

The results beat the other LIME operations across the region. The Jamaica operation's mobile subscriber base increased by double-digit levels since it launched marketing campaigns facilitated by regulatory rate cuts a year ago.

"Mobile revenue was up 4.0 per cent across the group in the first quarter. LIME growth was driven by continued strong subscriber additions in Jamaica, where revenue grew 34 per cent at constant currency," stated CWC in its financials released late last week.

The growth in revenues came as subscribers grew by 37 per cent, the financials indicated. LIME usually releases its results a week after its parent, and CWC did not disaggregate the results. As such, the dollar value of the growth was not immediately available at press time.

CWC offers mobile, broadband and fixed-line services in most markets as well as pay TV and business solutions in other markets.

LIME cut rates from $6.99 to $2.99 across networks and for international calls to the diaspora since June 2013. It subsequently offered summer specials with cheaper rates. However, the drop came as its regulator, the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), implemented a new mobile termination rate of $1.10 per minute in July 2013, which followed resistance and legal fights from stakeholders over a decade.

CWC aims to invest US$79 million in the island, mainly to develop faster mobile Internet speeds from 3G to 4G. It is part of an overall regional upgrade dubbed 'Project Marlin'.

"Mobilisation of Project Marlin has begun with US$81 million of capital expenditure during the quarter, double our spend in first quarter last year. We have upgraded 126 of our mobile sites in Jamaica since 1 April 2014 and expect to complete our 4G network later this year," stated the company.

The upgrade aims to improve the data and voice service coverage across the island. It will also ensure that more communities have access to fast and reliable mobile Internet service, stated LIME in its annual report 2014.

LIME Jamaica recorded $3.5 billion net losses for its year ending March 2014. Additionally, it recorded negative shareholder equity position of $23.8 billion from negative $19.6 billion a year earlier.

For the financial year ending March 2015, LIME aims to make US$45 million (J$5 billion) in earning before interest, depreciation, tax and amortisation (EBIDTA). That target would better the US$25-million made a year earlier by 80 per cent.

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