By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Aliv’s top executive said yesterday it has seen “hundreds” of customers switch to their network since number portability launched last month, telling this newspaper that the subscriber boost would keep the company in line with its targets.
“It’s going well now. Most of the kinks have been worked out. We have had hundreds do it now,” said Damian Blackburn. “I don’t know the exact number but it’s been hundreds.
“It’s increasing all the time. We’re starting to get more and more people every day. I think this will keep us in line with our targets for subscribers.”
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) immediate parent, in announcing its results for the three months to end-March 2017, said Aliv’s entrance into the mobile market had cost it 6,000 subscribers quarter-over-quarter.
Mr Blackburn told Tribune Business that BTC’s subscriber numbers were in line with his own forecasts, adding that he expected the incumbent to reprt a greater reduction when unveiling numbers for the three months to end-June 2017.
The Aliv chief explained that “time lags” made it difficult to determine the true change in subscriber numbers, as companies continued to count persons as clients for 60-90 days after they last used their services.
Mr Blackburn said the 2017 second quarter would provide “a bit more of a read” on how much of BTC’s market share and subscriber numbers Aliv was taking following the arrival of number portability, and added: “The end of the September quarter will be when we get a proper read.
“There’s still a lot of promotional stuff going on. I’m not expecting to get a firm read until the end of the Sepetmber quarter.”
Number portability is a process that will give the country’s 315,000 plus mobile subscribers the ability to change service providers without having to change their telephone number. The Bahamas has benefited from number portability in respect of fixed-line telephone numbers since December 2013.
Mr Blackburn added that Aliv is anticipating a full network roll-out by year’s end. “We’ll be in Andros, Exuma and Bimini in the summer some time, probably August,” he said.
“We expect to have a full roll-out by year’s end.”
Mr Blackburn previously told this newspaper that the new mobile operator is targeting a 25-35 per cent market share by year-end. The company currently has more than 60,000 subscribers, figures it expects to be boosted by number portability.
In March, BTC announced that it had reached a co-location agreement with Aliv, which allows the latter to position its network equipment on its cell towers.