Last Friday, October 10th saw the entry of a new partner to the mobile providers in Jamaica … well, you can call them new. Enters American Movil aka Claro (what kind of name is that?), the company that took over Oceanic Digital Limited, formerly Centenniel Jamaica Limited, more popularly known as MiPhone. Now, to take a walk down memory lane, MiPhone launched in Jamaica if memory serves me correctly around the same time Digicel came on the market. When MiPhone launched, they only had coverage in 3 parishes. Although they were on the best technological platform and had the better rates, they failed to make any significant dent in the already dominated Digicel and Cable & Wireless market. With coverage only in 3 parishes, any good thinking Jamaican would certainly think twice before taking up a MiPhone, knowing that they wouldn’t get coverage further than Mount Rosser, Old Harbour or Stony Hill.
You can click here to read about Claro’s launch in Jamaica.
American Movil is said to be owned by one of the richest men on the planet. The question is: Can Claro make an impression on the Jamaican populace to make them switch from the current provider? Claro is claiming to be the #1 mobile provider in Jamaica in the next 3 years and their strategy is to have the cheapest cross-network rate in the market. Currently, it costs almost triple the amount to call outside networks from the other two providers. What happens now is that most people have 2 phones, 1 from each provider.
One thing I can say, as a Marketing professional, that the power of communication and media is critical and amazing in making or breaking a brand in the marketplace. Claro has come strong with a good launch ad that is running every day during prime time on both free to air channels. Ironically, Digicel has also launched its new marketing theme about 1 month before the Claro launch and the similarities are striking. In a world of increasing competition, you have to reach your target audience. CWJ is no where to be seen at the moment (not surprising … they are probably asleep at the wheel again and woke asking “Who is Claro?”).
Digicel has been a household name in Jamaica for the 7 years they have been here. Can that be wiped out with this new entrant and promises of low cross-network rates? I don’t think so … no matter how much money American Movil’s CEO has.