Digicel targets remittance market – Jamaica Observer

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Digicel’s global headquarters in Kingston

DIGICEL says its plan to deepen its penetration into Jamaica’s mobile money market is kicking into high gear with expectations to launch a new service “in the coming months” that will also target the remittance market.

Oliver Coughlan, chief executive of Digicel Group, told the Jamaica Observer that the process is advanced with the person selected to lead the expected division in Jamaica shortly.

“We recently hired and are employing a global industry expert as Head of Financial Services, and she is first class. She has worked in Eastern Europe, she has worked in Pakistan…” said Coughlan, indicating that the person chosen is a woman.Although her name was not revealed, the CEO said that she had worked with the company for six months.

Digicel currently offers mobile money services in eight markets – Haiti, Jamaica and its six South Pacific markets which are currently being divested to Australian telecom operators Telstra.

The service in Jamaica includes a mobile app which was launched in partnership with Sagicor and Mastercard in 2018.

However, the company is now planning a mobile wallet.

“It provides a wallet, it allows people to remit – we have a very strong diaspora around the world in the South Pacific and across the Americas – allowing people to pay bills and it allows people to move money across the country,” Coughlan said. without giving more details on the plans. However, in this response, he indicated that Digicel would tackle the competitive remittance market dominated by Western Union.

“We’ve had it in Haiti for 10 years, we relaunched it in 2017, it’s a business that’s growing phenomenally, it’s developing well in Papua New Guinea. It will be a much better and great business in Jamaica, then we will expand to other markets.

“We go through the licenses [process] with the Bank of Jamaica. We are making good progress there. Our plan is to roll it out in the coming months in Jamaica,” Coughlan said of the issue.

“We are going to engage with Paymaster, which is one of our subsidiaries and bring these people into the fold and set up this mobile financial services business which can be a separate entity if need be, but which is an integral part of the Digicel family and it kind of supports and serves the customer base in our markets so we have an absolute plan to expand that beyond Jamaica, beyond Haiti in the coming months and those plans are well advanced,” he reiterated.

Mobile money services in Jamaica have grown especially since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the central bank revealed that the digital currency would be called Jam-Dex. Other entities such as NCB through its Lynk app and Wipay offer different types of mobile money services.

“I guess what helps us is that we have a very, very strong customer base that we speak to on a regular basis,” Coughlan replied when asked how the company plans to navigate what is becoming increasingly in addition to a competitive market.

Mobile money aside, Digicel faces increased competition in the mobile market with the recent announcement of Rock Mobile, led by former ScotiaGroup CEO Bruce Bowen.

“We recently had a very mobility-savvy competitor in this market, Claro, and I think it’s still going strong. It’s basically a mature market,” Coughlan said in reference to the entry of the new telecom operator.

“I read the article about this competitor. They talk about a small number of investments so far and I just hope their investors have deep pockets and aren’t looking for a dividend anytime soon. We have invested US$1 billion, we are still investing US$200 million which was announced last year,” he continued.

Rock Mobile is planning investments of US$90 million over the next few years, focusing primarily on the broadband market.

According to Jamaica’s Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) records, Rock Mobile has held licenses as an ISP, operator, international service provider and domestic voice service provider since June 2020. The company has d first expressed interest in obtaining Jamaica’s third telecommunications license in January last year. . Its entrance follows the exit of the Caricel. The company is to be “fully operational” within two years, with coverage reaching 95% of the population. The executive chairman of Rock Mobile, however, said he was facing installation issues.

Coughlan, however, stressed that the new player will not be easy to live with. “We will never take any competitor for granted, it’s not our nature.”

“We’re not going to sit still and let anybody come in and do what we’ve done for 20 years. Digicel was founded in Jamaica, we’ve built a mobile in Jamaica as a base to travel the world…and we’re not going to stop and let anyone in and [take away our share].

COUGHLAN… it’s providing a wallet, it allows people to deposit money…

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