Telecom sector subscriptions fall, but revenue grows
The telecoms sector, whose largest players are Digicel and Flow, reported increased revenues at $21.4 billion for the quarter ending December 2017 despite reduced calling minutes and subscriptions, according to the latest regulatory data from the Office of Utilities Regulation, the OUR.
The turnover reflects higher prices for some services.
Data compiled by OUR shows increased revenue for mobile and broadband internet, but landline phones are still declining. Mobile achieved combined revenues of $13.1 billion for the quarter, up 1.7 per cent year-on-year. Broadband increased 4.5 per cent to about $6 billion, while landline dipped marginally by 0.26 per cent to $2.3 billion.
During the period, mobile subscribers across the sector dipped by 5.4 per cent to 3.09 million, but which still surpasses Jamaica's estimated 2.8 million population. Along with the dip in subscribers came a fall in all categories of mobile services, including on-net calls, international calls and SMS text and mobile data traffic, based on OUR data.
Digicel Jamaica, which has the largest mobile subscriber base, around two million, declined to comment on the sectoral movements.
"As a privately held company, we won't be able to provide comment since the information is commercially sensitive," said Digicel spokesman Elon Parkinson.
More current data on FLOW Jamaica, reported by parent company Liberty Group, indicates the telecoms experienced a 12,200 quarterly drop in mobile subscribers to 941,000 as at March 2018. Over the same period, Flow increased other subscribers, broadband and landline, by 16,500.
Regarding the performance of the landline segment, OUR reported a 4.3 per cent dip in subscribers across the sector to 297,030 users, and with it a decline in all related service categories, including fixed to fixed, fixed to mobile, and total international calls.
Internet subscribers fell 9.5 per cent to 1.6 million. There was some improvement in fixed broadband take-up, which increased 4.6 per cent, but WAP and mobile Internet usage fell 11 per cent.