The ability to move from one service provider to another while holding onto your existing number is pretty new to the region – in fact, Cayman is the first territory in the English speaking Caribbean to take this step.
In another unique move for Cayman, both fixed line and mobile numbers can be ported, as long as the number is ported to the same platform, in other words a fixed line number cannot be ported to a mobile number and vice versa.
What the process results in for local customers is greater freedom to choose, representing another step in the liberalisation of the telecoms industry.
According to Victor Corcoran, CEO of Digicel Cayman, the introduction of local number portability has opened up great opportunities for customers and providers alike.
“Since our launch in Cayman eight years ago this month, Digicel has brought significant reductions in the cost of mobile and fixed calls in Cayman. We are very excited by the opportunity that the arrival of number portability in Cayman presents as it will undoubtedly drive increased benefits to consumers in terms of choice, value, service and innovation,” he says.
Digicel Cayman’s parent company, Digicel Group Limited, has gained over 11 million customers across its 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific in nearly 11 years in operation.
“This stunning success has been delivered through our focus on ‘best value, best network and best service’,” says Victor.
Although Digicel has been accepting porting requests since 20 February, due to continuing testing of porting procedures and systems, the actual porting of numbers had been delayed in order to ensure a smooth porting experience for customers, in keeping with the company’s aim to provide the best service possible to its customers.
“Although disappointed that this resulted in the many, many people who have being holding on for the moment when they could bring their number over to the Bigger Better Network, having to wait some additional days, we believe it was the right decision in the long term. We are delighted with the demand for porting so far and thank all for their patience,” says Victor.
Digicel has been making use of the opportunity not only to gain new customers, but also to improve the experience for current customers.
“We have taken this opportunity to work hard reassess and refreshing our internal processes, we are expanding our successful team with great new people,” says Victor.
The company spent time contacting existing customers in order to get their feedback on what Digicel was doing right, but also to find out where there were areas that could be improved upon.
“The feedback overall has been great but at times we have been told where we needed to improve,” says Victor.
One of the important changes was for the company to take over control of its Georgetown store, which had been run as a franchise.
“We are very impressed with our talented young new Caymanian store manager Shantel Ebanks who has just joined us. We continue to hire as she builds her team,” says Victor.
In fact, Shantel is one of a crop of young Caymanians who are joining the company or making their way up the ranks.
After a stint studying in London, Crystal Gomez has returned to Digicel to ensure that the company’s message reaches everyone in Cayman, while Cassianne Lawrence has been promoted into an Affinity sales role.
Apart from the investment in people, Digicel will also be investing in expanded infrastructure.
“We also have additional 4G sites in the pipeline to further improve coverage and capacity,” says Victor.
He says making the move from another provider to Digicel could not be easier.
“Moving to Digicel is very simple and straight forward. A customer need only walk into a Digicel store, bring their existing phone bill (if on a contract) an official government ID and complete a short form and Digicel will take care of the rest. For mobile numbers, the process should typically take up to 48 hours but may take longer if the process is over a weekend or if there are delays in the process. For Fixed lines the process should take a maximum of ten days.”