Telephone directory competition for LIME

BY PAUL ALLEN Business reporter allenp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 13, 2011

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JAMAICANS will soon have an alternative directory to choose from.


RedBk Jamaica Limited plans to launch by year end an all-inclusive directory of mobile and landline numbers for businesses and individuals, with no bias for service providers. LIME is currently the major player in the distribution of telephone directories to the local market.


RedBk president Carol Pryce said the directory will be a regional one for specific areas of the country which they will designate and target, not the Caribbean as the term suggests. In short, there will be an individual book for each region. She declined to say what the regions will be, but did confirm that there will be five.


"Our first location is in New Kingston, but our network will extend throughout the island," she said, adding that RedBk directories will be more relevant to both consumers and advertisers with pricing for its offering below that of current players.


The creation of five regional directories rather than a general one is a strategic move as the company wants them to be portable because "people need to carry them around". Additionally, persons will be able to see and access services offered in their area as opposed to the general islandwide listings that are available now.


"Our aim is to better serve all personal and business clients, large corporate, small and medium-sized enterprises and micro (any vendor) by providing them with the opportunity to be part of a directory service that gives them greater access to their current customers and potential customers. We do not see this as taking market share from the incumbent but merely providing another competitive option to all and a greater value-added product for Jamaicans," said a release from the company.


What's more is that the company will be targeting enterprises which do not use landlines, noting that prepaid and postpaid options are now in greater use, especially by smaller businesses.


"We plan to service the huge under represented group of mobile customers (prepaid and post paid) individuals, and small business, not currently having the opportunity to list," she said.


Entering a market that it describes as being "competitive", RedBk is seeking to create partnerships with both mobile and landline providers, having already made some inroads with telecommunications giant, Digicel.


"Digicel has granted RedBk permission to utilise its dealer channel to offer RedBk's advertising products," the release said. "RedBk encourages all telecommunication customers to list, be it Flow, LIME, Digicel and Claro."


RedBk will invest US$2 million (J$172 million) over the next 12 months providing employment for 80 people in the first six months and between 150 to 200 with the year. In return, it is expecting that revenues will be over a billion dollars for the first three years collectively.


The first regional directory should be available by April to September next year.


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