Digicel’s chief executive officer Jabbor Kayumov does not believe he needs to use flowery language to convince you that his company provides the best mobile service in this country
Instead, he wants you to do your own comparison.
So take out your mobile phone, download the Speedtest by Ookla, and check for yourself.
“When you do the Speedtest you will see that Digicel is far better. The App is absolutely independent. When you compare coverage and speed, the App will transparently tell you which network is faster and which network is bigger. Forget the noise, do the test,” Kayumov said.
“A good product does not need marketing,” Kayumov said as he stood beside two Speedtest awards Digicel received in 2018 and 2019 for the Fastest Mobile Network in T&T.
“It’s not that we don’t have money for marketing, we have the best product. People talking about Digicel is more than enough marketing, word of mouth is more than enough for us,” he said.
Kayumov believes his closest mobile competitor utilised creative marketing to promote its recent launch of 5G in T&T.
Last week, TSTT in partnership with Huawei announced that the fifth generation of fixed wireless technology had arrived.
Unfortunately, it’s not available on mobile devices as yet. It is only available at homes and business places for the time being.
Kayumov said it was an exciting moment for the industry in T&T to hear that one of the operators was on its way to launch 5G.
However, Kayumov said he was eventually left disappointed.
Kayumov said the recently launched 5G is twice as slow as the current capabilities being offered by Digicel.
“With the current fibre products Digicel is giving up to 2GB (gigabytes) per second speed and what was again presented to us last week based on the information we got was 1GB per second,” he said.
“So, to me, it was a bit of confusion and disappointment. It looks like fixed 5G which is twice slower than the current product which we are offering the market. To me it sounded more like marketing than the practical solution addressing customer needs,” he said.
Kayumov said Digicel’s customers can get as much as 10GB per second if needed.
“If among our corporate customers or consumer segments somebody wished to get 10GB per second I can give it to them, fibre can accelerate the speed based on the customer’s needs I just need to put end to end proper equipment to accelerate the speed,” he said.
“But definitely the cost will be different because you are asking for the bigger pipe for the fastest speed which means that my network currently can do 10 times faster than fixed 5G,” he said.
“So the 5G fixed launch last week is kind of a bit of a disappointment for me not from a competitor perspective but from a customer perspective,” Kayumov said.
He added that Digicel will launch 5G when the time is right.
“Definitely we are going to launch 5G but it is going to be mobile and it is going to be a proper one to address customer needs. There are few conditions we are going to have before that happens.
“Definitely one of those is having the right spectrum, and I think TATT (the Telecommunications Authority of T&T) who is regulating this industry is actually doing a great job. We are getting rational, very objective, very professional support and guidance from the regulator so no complaints there,” he said.
Affordability will be the next condition that need to be met, he said.
The third is the demand for 5G, he said.
“A few weeks ago when we launched advanced LTE and I made that statement that T&T is not ready for 5G yet it was not about technology.
“Technology wise have the widest network or biggest network in Trinidad, we can launch 5G, proper mobile 5G, now I have to specify that to avoid any misunderstanding, not the fixed one because we are not going to launch a fixed one for sure but proper mobile 5G we can do it really, really soon in a matter of months if not weeks,” he said.
Kayumov said 5G is not a toy.
“5G has a purpose, it is not just a toy. 5G technology was developed to address the future which will be built on machine to machine IOT world where every single device you would have around you maybe even your sofa will be connected to the internet, will be talking to each other,” he said.
“When everything around us is connected then you will have a high demand for constant connection through air, mobile and wireless to some data centre which will be processing so then you will have the demand from hundreds of thousands machines requiring to connect per square kilometre which is currently not even close and this is what I mean by the market being ready, this is what I mean by demand,” he said.
Kayumov said Digicel is currently meeting the demands of its customers.
“I have my network which is addressing the current needs of my customer base consumer and corporate not many operators in Trinidad can offer that speed and that’s why for us our strategy is based on customer needs,” he said.
“We are not claiming that we are perfect by all means. We still have a lot of areas we have to improve, it is a work in progress but continuous improvement.”
Kayumov said Digicel has a “customer obsession culture.”
As a result Kayumov has invited people to follow him on Instagram at digicelttceo where they can air their concerns.
Apart from their external customers, Kayumov said Digicel also wants to serve its internal customers.
“We have the happiest employees in the country. If we are not there yet, if some of my staff members are not seeing that we are fully committed to make it happen,” he said.
Kayumov said this has also been reflected in the company’s balance sheet.
“I think we are doing great. This year is going to be the best year from a revenue perspective and profitability perspective that Digicel has ever had in T&T.
So it is not only about the soft things but we can also see the numbers and the numbers are actually supporting the entire story.”
Kayumov said Digicel sees all challenges as an opportunity.
One of the recent issues Digicel is trying to deal with is the current demonetisation of the $100 bill.
“For us we have to adjust our operations within the next two weeks because we are dealing with a lot of cash from the community and we are talking about a large amount of cash going throughout the corporation that is a challenge,” Kayumov said.
“They are still valid until the end of the year so we are still operating business as usual but we are definitely coming up with a plan, our operational plan which is going to address this situation in accordance with the local regulations and decisions which the government is taking around this topic.”