Country Manager of Lime St. Vincent, Leslie Jack (IWN file photo)

Telecommunication provider LIME has defended the 60 cents per minute rates it announced here last week.

Customers of LIME St. Vincent are asking why they are paying 20 cents more per minute than LIME customers in Grenada.

“The guys in Grenada clearly are setting a rate against what Digicel is offering in Grenada, and, in fact, Grenada is offering two rates. They are offering a local rate of 40 cents, and they are offering a regional rate of 65 cents. Here in St. Vincent, we decided to have one message, and, perhaps, it is better for customers to have one rate to call locally and regionally. That rate is 60 cents,” Leslie Jack, country manager of LIME St. Vincent told I-Witness News on Tuesday.

He said rather than comparing LIME rates in St. Vincent with those in Grenada and other Caribbean nations, Vincentians should be more concerned about the rates Digicel, the other telecommunications provider, is offering locally.

“It is about Digicel offering the highest rates in market. They have not lowered their rates for some years now and, in fact, would appear that they are not prepared to go lower than what they currently prescribe as their retail rates in market,” Jack further said.

He said Digicel customers in St. Vincent pay 98 cents per minute to call within the Caribbean, 89 cents per minutes to call a third party, 86 cents to call on their own network, and 75 cents to call on weekends.

“LIME has been the lowest rated market for the last four to five years and we are even lower now with the new offer of 60 cents anywhere anytime across locally and in the Caribbean.

“The issue here is not to compare us to LIME Grenada. … We have issues here with Digicel. Why Digicel … provides the highest retail mobile rates in market for years?” Jack further said.

He said that he believes LIME’s competitor in Grenada is also offering a lower rate and the company there feels “it’s compelling on their side to perhaps offer 40 cents.

“So, again, it brings back the competitor rates into question. … Clearly, there is a different rate being offered by Digicel in Grenada, and in St. Lucia as well as in St. Vincent…”

He further said mobile termination rates here in St. Vincent are 400 per cent higher than in Jamaica and this influences retail rates.

Mobile termination rates refer to the charges a telecommunications operator charges another for terminating calls on its network.

For example, if a LIME customer wants to call a friend with a Digicel phone, LIME will charge a fee per minute for the call. Digicel will also charge LIME a fee for terminating the call on its network. The termination cost will also form part of what the LIME customer will pay. (The situation is the same if the service providers are reversed.)

“Somewhat that dictates what rates should be charged in the market,” Jack said of the mobile termination rates.

But he said the current model for determining mobile termination rates, devised in 2009, should be changed.

“That would allow mobile termination rates to be more cost based than anything else. If you allow that to happen, you will notice that eventually, once the ECTEL (Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority) and the NTRC (National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission) are open to that, they will realise that mobile termination rates, once they are cost based, they will be next to nothing,” Jack said.

“In the case of Jamaica, it is now one or two US cents.

Jack, however, said that if Digicel lowers its rates, customers could expect LIME to again revise its rates.

“I’m quite sure. Why not? I mean it’s a competitive business. We live in a capitalist society. Capitalism is what drives the economy. So, I am quite sure that if Digicel was to, perhaps, drives rates downwards, I don’t think LIME will have any choice but to review rates as well,” Jack told I-Witness News.

4 replies on “LIME manager defends new rates”

  1. I have to agree with Jack, it’s a business enterprise and Vincentians talk to darn much. I watch people gossiping regularly on cell phones in SVG. People don’t realize that cell phones are for emergency use and not for old talk and gossiping.
    These same people will beg you for a $5 to top-up.
    I use a card to make long distance calls. When it runs out that’s the end of the call. While I am in SVG I limit my calls and this helps me to keep a tab on the cost of using my cell phones. People have to start controlling their use of the cellphone. They cannot blame LIME or Digicel for their bad habits

  2. The issue is about the rates here in SVG and those in Grenada. I’m not concern about Digicel. I am not a Digicel customer let their customer look out for their justice. If Grenada has it for 40 cents we need it here too Mr Jack stop pussy footing.

  3. After reading the article I came up with following Questions.

    Why a LIME to LIME call cost $0.60/min. LIME to LIME Mobile or Land line should be cheaper. It is one Network & Carrier. Most of the international calls are terminated on VOIP network. LIME is almost everywhere in the region so Long distance rate on Land line & Cellular should be less.

    LIME owns most of the Copper (Phone Lines) on the Street. Yes they have to pay tax/fees to the Govt. But make money if some other company wants to use the same circuit.

    Local govt can generate revenue in many other ways and create competition in communication market. For example Customer should be allowed to take their phone number from one carrier to next (Number Porting). A fee can be charged & govt can tax that fee. Create more post paid Cellular accounts. Instead of paying to a third party in America Local govt can collect local tax on the Bill and use that money to improve the services. Sell DID number to other VOIP companies. This force Local phone companies to improve their infrastructure.

    How long more LIME & Digicel wants to keep locals under 2G umbrella. Companies should upgrade the Network and provide more WiFi services for reduced rate. Sell internet as prepaid/postpaid plan for Tablets & Laptops. Once again your Edge & GPRS network is maxed out. It takes minute and half to download a webpage on BB in most of your downtown coverage area. Why most of the times after your Network upgrade your network becomes non responsive. In today’s Internet market DSL service is almost at its end of life. So why spend money on old technology and invest in Fiber. St. Vincent will need Fiber sooner or later. Fiber will help you Lauch TV portion of the service. Now you will complete with everyone instead of just Digicel. If your service is cheaper & better than your Competition then Customer will come back to you and Please fix your Customer care. We are not in Jamaica. How about Local 12 hrs 7 days customer care for all your products. After hours it can go to Jamaica or which ever call center you want to terminate it. It will create Call center jobs Locally. Bigger is Better.. ?? Lets see who will lay down Fiber first LIME or flow…?

  4. Guys I think we are confusing the issues here. I think LIME has done a wonderful thing by dropping the rates. I think you have to remember LIME customers are benefiting just the same since they even have a lower rate than what was previously charged. Come on, the people LIME are running a business. They can just drop the rates to the minimum. They also have to look at what the competition is doing locally. We need to be fair. They people (LIME) are offering the lowest rate in the market we need to big them up for that.

    As it relates to our mobile service – You may be right about the 2G factor but can we really afford to pay for 4G or any other G when it arrives here. Remember eh. 4G will allow people to do more with data but it will ask you to pay for it also. It will not be free. So careful of what you ask for.

    As far as DSL. I think the rate can be lowered. But as far as I know LIME has been laying fibre recently. I won’t be surprise that something may happen soon. At the end of the day lower rates will be best for all.

    Overall, I think the whole rate change is good. All vincy will benefit if digi can lower their rates also. And if I have to pay 38 cents more to call the Caribbean from a digi phone, 29 cents more to call my LIME friends from Digi and 26 Cents more to call people on my own network as a digi customer it is best I switch to LIME cause all of that money adds up. Big LIME!! Keep trying.

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