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BTC CEO: We are not conceding anymore subscriber share

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has the toughest battle of its existence ahead of it as it continues to transition out of its monopoly position, its CEO Garfield Sinclair told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that with the help of its union partners, the telecoms company could become more efficient, high-performing and competitive.

Sinclair explained that the union members want to see BTC compete in the telecoms market as a high-performing business. “They told me so,” he said.

The Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union announced last week that it filed a trade dispute against BTC with the Department of Labor, alleging that the company has “failed to bargain in good faith and renew the industrial agreement which has been expired for 20 months”.

Despite the disagreements between the executive and the bargaining agent for the staff, Sinclair explained that working with the union is part of the strategy for BTC to guarantee it increases its market share.

“Working with union partners is a way to guarantee your success and not the other way around,” he said. “There is a common belief that somehow unions are a drag on productivity and I don’t believe that.”

As the company seeks to empower its staff even more, as it adapts to the competitive environment, Sinclair explained that the metrics and performance indicators for the company will begin to be shared with the entire company. He said BTC’s executives have decided to become more transparent to ensure that colleagues know exactly where the company stands in the market and how it is performing.

While he said he is not certain increased transparency will lead to better union relations, Sinclair explained that he is hopeful the move will help the staff move the company from where it is currently, to “best in class”.

“True professionals don’t want to be worst in class,” he said. “I just find that when people are connected with collective output, the better they perform.”

According to Sinclair, BTC’s entire focus is on market share in the mobile, broadband and fixed video segments.

Though Aliv’s entry into the mobile market eroded BTC’s base, Sinclair said the company has several customer value propositions (CVPs) in the pipeline that will be announced imminently. He said he is positive these new offerings will reignite the excitement for BTC’s services.

“What that means is developing propositions to both acquire the customers you want, and to retain, and then to continue to move subscribers on the lower end of the segmentation exercise, up the value chain,” Sinclair said.

“We are developing CVPs that will resonate with the Bahamian public and we’re going to address that in a way that I think will resonate with the Bahamian public in short order.

“We are not conceding anymore subscriber share and definitely don’t intend to concede anymore value share in this market. We think the market right where it is now is operating rationally.

“Having destroyed a bit of value, we are interested in getting a chunk of that value back, and retaining the subscribers that are rightfully ours.”

He said BTC will begin to properly tout how much more advanced its LTE network is compared to its competition, and to leverage the expertise and capabilities of its parent company Liberty Global, in order to regain market share.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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