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George: Digicel innovation no rip-off

George: Digicel innovation no rip-off


“The first reason people go into business is to make money, the business that does not maximise its profit, will not survive.”

This was the answer which the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Digicel public relations manager, Jerry George gave, in response to suggestions that Digicel was ripping off their customers in their texting promotions. {{more}}

The unapologetic PR man said that people in the region view profit as a dirty word, but stressed that good business comes from having a good business plan, which was executed well. He explained, “Digicel stands at a point where we have been successful with the model that we have embarked on and the strategies that we have put into the market place. Should we apologise for that? I don’t think it is necessary to do that.”

Responding to a letter in the Searchlight Newspaper on Friday July 22, which accused the Telecommunications Company of “ripping off the clients in the Rising Star” and “Cricket Text” competitions, George noted that Digicel is a private company and does not discuss the issue of money.

He revealed, “Digicel actually lost money on the Rising Stars competition. If you are going to do things properly, each situation has to be judged on its merit. We had a competition that took people from four islands, there were various parts of the competition, where we had to be moving around people for 13 weeks. Digicel had to be putting up the contestants in hotels and we also had a high quality production crew, we also had to broadcast the shows. Do you really think that that Digicel would have made back that kind of money? I can assure you we didn’t. We charged $1 to our customers to text their favourite singer, but the programme actually lost.”

In the exclusive interview, George said, “We are not complaining, because we understand the need to enhance the brand. Everything you go into, you don’t necessarily make money out of directly. But Rising Stars competition has enhanced the brand. It brought brand awareness; it brought alot of excitement. For the first time in the Caribbean a real reality show was brought to the Caribbean compliments Digicel.

People who had never heard about Digicel, or didn’t care about Digicel before saw something that they could participate in and something that more importantly benefited their future. These people had great opportunities that they would never have gotten, that is something that you cannot coin in dollars and cents.

So to look at the fact that Digicel would have made a bomb, I can assure you, with every ounce of assurance, Digicel lost money on the Rising Stars competition.”

The Digicel Public Relations Manager said the criticism they received for charging 40 cents to check cricket scores was unreasonable. He said the service was not charitable and there were other means by which persons could have gotten their cricket scores. He said Digicel made the scores available for people who wanted to stay involved at 40 cents.

George noted that this was not an exorbitant price for Digicel to bring that information. He stressed, “If you were using a radio you have to pay for the battery, if you were using the internet you have to pay for your internet account and you would have to pay for the electricity to use your computer. We simply were saying that you have a phone and it would have cost you 40 cents to check the cricket scores. The choice of using it or not was purely up to you.”