The Caribbean cable and telecommunications industry may not be large, but it is an important and fast-growing region. The recent Caribbean Cable & Telecommunications Association (CCTA) Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico threw the spotlight on this slice of paradise and I was there to catch up on some of the trends emerging for the year ahead.
This year’s theme was “Trade Winds: Cable in the Caribbean”. After listening to 13 of the participating operators at the show, I’ve narrowed down the top 4 lessons that the broader industry can learn from the community:
Whether it’s multichannel initiatives, increased speeds, WiFi, or IPTV, operators have their sights fixed on service expansion. This is good news for customers in the region. Service providers are constantly looking for ways to keep their competitive edge and it will be exciting to see the developments here as the year progresses.
Infrastructure and Technology Changes
Many of the services listed above are being driven by new technology and a commitment to up-to-date infrastructure. For example, one of the region’s largest cable operators was able to offer the fastest broadband speeds in the market after focusing on digital technology. Another operator installed satellite infrastructure and is now rolling out new apps and multi-channel initiatives, while yet another upgraded existing plants and installed fiber to commercial premises to drive new revenue.
Company Acquisitions and Restructures
It’s been a period of expansion and change for many operators in this region. For example, after acquiring OneLink in 2012, Liberty PR has spent the last 12 months working on integration, while Cable Bahamas recently acquired Marco Island Cable.
I brought this up last year, but again, I was impressed with the focus on customer retention in this fast-growing market. Operators spent much of 2013 upgrading infrastructure to improve quality of experience and many view 2014 as an opportunity to improve the customer experience by expanding services, increasing content, and launching customer-specific services, such as multilingual CSR support. These businesses continue to thrive, highlighting the importance of looking after your existing customers to remain competitive.
The CCTA Annual gives us an insight into the needs and changing requirements of the Caribbean communications industry, but also points to trends in the wider cable community. I’ll be there next year — and in the meantime, I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2014 brings!