Digicel

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Digicel
TypePrivate
IndustryTelecommunications
FoundedApril 19, 2001
FounderDenis O'Brien
HeadquartersKingston, Jamaica
Area served
Caribbean, South America, Pacific
Key people
Denis O'Brien
(Executive Chairman & Interim CEO)
ProductsMobile, Fixed Broadband, Wireless Broadband, Satellite Television, Cable, Mobile Money, Home Security
Revenue$2.8 billion (2015)[1]
Number of employees
~6,500 (2018)
SubsidiariesDigicel, Trend Media Group, Prism Services Jamaica
WebsiteDigicel Group

Digicel is a Caribbean mobile phone network and home entertainment provider operating in 33 markets across the Caribbean, Central America, and Oceania regions. The company is owned by Irish businessman Denis O'Brien, is incorporated in Bermuda, and is headquartered in Jamaica.

Digicel has operated in several countries, including Fiji, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Jamaica.

History[edit]

Digicel was founded in 2001 by Irish entrepreneur Denis O'Brien. The company launched in April 2001 in Jamaica.[2] In March 2003, Digicel expanded to St. Lucia and St. Vincent.[3] In 2005, Digicel purchased Cingular Wireless' Caribbean and Bermuda operations.[4]

In May 2006, Digicel began operations in Haiti.[5] Between 2006 and 2008, Digicel expanded into the Central American mainland, as well as the Pacific.[5][6] In September 2006, it acquired an unrelated mobile phone provider Digicel Holdings in El Salvador.[7]

A Digicel storefront in Castries, Saint Lucia, in 2012

In 2007, Digicel acquired U*Mobile in Guyana,[8] and launched in Suriname in December.[9]

OUR court rulings[edit]

In April 2002, Digicel received permission from Jamaica's then-minister of industry, commerce and technology, Phillip Paulwell, to disregard the interconnectivity fee ceiling issued by the Offices of Utilities Regulation (OUR).[10] Following a judicial review, it was determined that Paulwell did not have the power to make this decision.[10] Digicel appealed the ruling to the Jamaican Supreme Court in 2003 and won.[10] OUR appealed the decision to the appellate court, which ruled Paulwell's decision was outside his powers and OUR didn't have to comply with Paulwell's directive.[10] Digicel appealed to the Privy Council, Jamaica's final court of appeal, which upheld the appellate court's decision in 2007.[10]

Digicel appealed the decision to the United Kingdom Privy Council.[10] In January 2010, the Council ruled in favour of the OUR, meaning LIME (formerly Cable & Wireless Jamaica) was allowed to keep the J$340 million Digicel had been ordered to pay them by the Jamaican courts.[10]

2010-Present[edit]

Digicel Mobile Money, a mobile banking service, was launched in Fiji in July 2010.[11] Also in 2010, Digicel launched TchoTcho, a cash app for money transfers to phones in Haiti.[12] In 2011, Mobile Money in Fiji was expanded to allow transfers to and from Australia and New Zealand at no cost.[13]

In February 2011, Digicel took a controlling stake in Netxar Technologies, a leading systems integrator in the Caribbean region.[14] In March, Digicel announced that it was selling its operations in Honduras and El Salvador to Mexican telecom company America Movil, and America Movil was selling its operations in Jamaica to Digicel.[15] In March 2012, Digicel acquired Comcel / Voila, its main competitor in Haiti.[5]

In May 2012, the Tax Authority Jamaica (TAJ) visited Digicel's offices in New Kingston with an order from the Jamaican supreme court to look for data regarding the company's payment of the general consumption tax.[16] A couple of weeks later, TAJ and Digicel agreed to have more dialogue surrounding the situation.[17]

In October 2012, American Movil announced it wouldn't acquire Digicel's operations in El Salvador.[18]

Digicel IMAX theater in the suburb of Woodbrook in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

In June 2013, Digicel announced that it would invest $9 billion in a mobile phone network in Myanmar, if granted a licence.[19] However, Digicel lost the licence bid to Telenor and Ooredoo.[20][21]

Digicel acquired SAT Telecom, a cable and internet company in Dominica, in February 2014 and relaunched the brand as Digicel Play in October of that year.[22][23][24] In September, Digicel acquired Telstar Cable Limited in Jamaica.[25]

In 2015, TchoTcho was relaunched as MonCash with additional banking services.[12] In September 2016, Digicel Play launched as Play Go, a live streaming service.[26]

In July 2017, Digicel bought 16.6% of Tonga Cable from the government.[27]

In January 2019, O'Brien named Jean-Yves Charlier as chief executive, replacing Michael Willner.[28]

In November 2020, Digicel announced that, in its financial second quarter to the end of September, its earnings have dropped due to impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.[29]

An outdoor Digicel ad on a bus shelter in Tonga.

Corporate sponsorship[edit]

Digicel is a sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Asia-Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams in these regions.[30][31][32] From 2005 to 2018, Digicel sponsored The West indies cricket team.[33]

In 2008, Digicel announced that they would sponsor the Vanuatu national cricket team, as well as the National Rugby 15's and 7's teams.[34] That same year, Digicel became the sponsor of the Digicel Cup for rugby in Fiji.[35]

In April 2013, Digicel was announced as the first global sponsor of the 2013 inaugural tournament for the Caribbean Premier League.[36]

Digicel Foundation[edit]

In 2004, Digicel and its shareholders set up the Digicel Foundation in Jamaica.[37]

The Digicel Foundation is active in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea.[38] In Haiti, the Digicel Foundation helped rebuild after the 2010 Haiti earthquake struck Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010.[39] Projects have included building primary schools and restoring the historic Iron Market.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Digicel Group Limited".
  2. ^ Cauley, Leslie (27 August 2006). "Digicel makes cellphone connection in Jamaica". USA Today.
  3. ^ "Taking Midas touch to Caribbean". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  4. ^ "Cingular Wireless sells Caribbean, Bermuda operations to Digicel". RCR Wireless News. 1999-11-30. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  5. ^ a b c "Irish cellphone entrepreneur banks on a smarter Haiti". Reuters. 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  6. ^ "Digicel casts its net across Caribbean". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  7. ^ Young, Shawn (2006-09-21). "Cellphone Start-Up's Aggressive Expansion". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  8. ^ "Digicel makes commitment to children with special needs". Guyana Chronicle. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  9. ^ "Suriname grants telecom licences to Digicel and Intelsur" Caribbean Net News, August 17, 2006
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Blow to Digicel". Jamaica Observer. Jamaica. 22 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2015-03-05.
  11. ^ "Mobile phone banking launched in Fiji". RNZ. 19 July 2010. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  12. ^ a b "How Mobile Money Is Increasing Financial Stability". The Haitian Times. 2019-10-24. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  13. ^ "Digicel offers free money transfer". The Fiji Sun. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  14. ^ "Digicel acquires Netxar Technologies". Stabroek News. 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  15. ^ Harrison, Crayton (30 November 2011). "America Movil Weighing Options for Digicel El Salvador Deal". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  16. ^ Hall, Arthur (May 10, 2012). "Gov't Defends Digicel Tax Raid". Jamaica Gleaner.
  17. ^ "Digicel, Tax Administration call truce". The Jamaica Gleaner. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  18. ^ "Mexico's America Movil ends deal to buy Digicel". Reuters. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  19. ^ Thomson, Amy (2013-06-03). "Digicel-Soros Consortium Promises $9 Billion Myanmar Investment". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  20. ^ "Digicel loses out to Norwegian, Quatari telecoms in Myanmar bid - Business". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  21. ^ Keena, Colm. "O'Brien's Digicel loses out in Burma". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  22. ^ "Digicel acquires cable TV operation". The Jamaica Gleaner. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  23. ^ "SAT sold to Digicel". Dominica News Online. 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  24. ^ "Digicel Play launches services in Dominica". Telecompaper. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  25. ^ "Digicel completes acquisition of Telstar Cable Ltd". The Jamaica Gleaner. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  26. ^ "Digicel launches Play Go streaming app". Jamaica Observer. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  27. ^ O'Halloran, Barry (28 July 2017). "Denis O'Brien's Digicel pays €3.6m for Tonga Cable stake". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  28. ^ Brennan, Joe (28 January 2019). "O'Brien chooses Charlier as new chief executive of Digicel". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  29. ^ Brennan, Joe. "Denis O'Brien's Digicel sees earnings drop 8% in second quarter". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  30. ^ "Digicel pledges US$20,000 to Dominica Special Olympic team for upcoming World Games". Dominica News Online. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  31. ^ "Digicel sends Team Samoa to World Games in Abu Dhabi". Samoa Observer. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  32. ^ "Digicel supports Special Olympics Team Nauru". Loop Nauru. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  33. ^ Paul, Mark (30 May 2018). "Digicel ends West Indies cricket sponsorship". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  34. ^ "Digicel Launches with The Bigger Better Network in Vanuatu - Solomon Times Online". Solomon Times. 26 June 2008. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  35. ^ "Digicel sponsors provincial rugby: $13,000 for major unions". The Fiji Times. 1 June 2008. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
  36. ^ "Digicel announced as major sponsor for Caribbean Premier League". St. Lucia News Online. 16 April 2013.
  37. ^ Edwards, Al (30 September 2011). "Digicel Foundation deepens its commitment to educating Jamaica". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  38. ^ "Denis O'Brien's warnings for Ireland - change up tax laws and education". Irish Central. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  39. ^ Strom, Stephanie (2012-01-06). "A Billionaire Lends Haiti a Hand". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  40. ^ Ed Vulliamy, "How an Irish telecoms tycoon became Haiti's only hope of salvation", The Guardian, January 9, 2011

External links[edit]