Flow Jamaica shines in C&W Q2 report

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 12, 2018

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Flow Jamaica managed to offset losses for parent company Cable & Wireless Communications Limited (C&W) from its upgrades and product enhancements such as 'Flow Evo' for the second quarter of C&W's 2018 financial year.

C&W, which touts itself as the leading telecommunications operator in its consumer markets — the Caribbean and Latin America — posted losses of US$45 million for the 2018 second quarter, led by higher network-related expenses primarily associated with sub-sea fibre cut repairs and ongoing repair costs in hurricane-impacted markets.

Despite its losses, the telecommunications operator praised Jamaica, among other Caribbean countries, for significantly higher performance over the prior period. In fact, the company recognised Flow for its network expansion, upgrades and product enhancements in creating the best second-quarter performance the parent company has seen in video revenue generating units (RGUs) since 2016.

“Jamaica had a particularly strong quarter, adding 5,000 video RGUs. Following the launch of Flow Evo in January and other platform improvements, we have seen gains across C&W's largest video markets, including Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados,” C&W told shareholders in its recently released financial report.

The company also said that fixed-line telephony RGU additions of 10,000 were driven by its successful bundling strategy.

C&W closed the quarter with revenues of US$589 million, largely driven by residential fixed revenue which grew two per cent year-over-year. Residential growth was mainly driven by increased organic subscribers over the last 12 months, particularly in Jamaica (79,000), Trinidad (20,000), and Panama (7,000).

Revenue also came from C&W's rolling out of enhanced in-home connectivity for subscribers through its WiFi connect box, which it reported is now installed across over 20 per cent of broadband subscribers. Broadband RGU additions of the company totalled 11,000; while C&W's business division, B2B, posted revenue increase of 0.5 per cent year over year.

According to C&W, revenue was significantly higher than the prior-year period and driven by improved performance in Jamaica, where the company added 4,000 RGUs through increased penetration in its upgraded network, and Panama, where the company continued to promote its Mast3r packages supporting 4,000 additions.

Still, competitive factors and a more targeted approach to promotional activities resulted in a decline of mobile subscribers by 89,000 and overall net losses of US$45 million for the second quarter 2018, compared to US$18 million for the corresponding period of the prior year.

C&W blamed the decline on prepaid losses of 51,000 in Panama and 16,000 in Jamaica. In The Bahamas competitive intensity continued to drive subscriber declines, totalling 10,000 in the second quarter, compared to a loss of 24,000 over the comparative period of 2017.

New build and upgrade initiatives delivered over 40,000 premises in the second quarter and over 80,000 year-to-date.

C&W delivers video, broadband, telephony and mobile services to consumers in 18 countries. Through its business division, the company provides data centre hosting, domestic and international managed network services, and customised IT service solutions — utilising cloud technology to serve business and government customers.

To date, C&W provides entertainment, information and communication services to 3.3 million mobile, 0.6 million Internet, 0.6 million fixed-line telephony, and 0.4 million video subscribers. In addition, C&W delivers B2B and wholesale services over its sub-sea and terrestrial networks that connect over 40 markets across the region.

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