A message to LIME Jamaica

This is more than a message to LIME, it is a letter, a letter of final plea to the former telecoms monopoly of Jamaica. This plea is more from the people of Jamaica than it is from a single individual, it represent the views of those who have come in contact with Cable and Wireless, Bmobile, LIME or whatever their branding was at any given time which, unfortunately, did little to change the overall behavior of the company to it’s loyal customers. All that was received from the company after these several re-branding attempts were: arrogance, insensitivity and general lack of interest, it is time for a change.

The Message

Cable and Wireless have been among the leading companies operating in Jamaica for the last two decades. During this time you have provided the Jamaican populace with landline phones, internet and cellphone service. The novel service is that of cellphones. Cellphones provided by you suffered from many problems including: signal problems, an outdated technology framework, poor customer support and rates among the highest in the world. Those interested had to go through terrifying processes just to get a chance to use the novel cellphone service, thus the full potential of the marketability of cellphones were not realised, YET. The question is: Why worry about the customers? You had total control of the cellphone market so why sweat? No competition was there so you got your free time, you could do anything you wanted and no one could complain because you controlled ALL. It was then that a mostly unknown Irish businessman, looking for a fresh start after selling his Irish telecom company, saw the major possibilities of the suppressed Jamaican telecoms market and moved on to capitalize on it. He and his board members christened the company ‘Digicel’ and set a modest target of 100,000 customers in a year, a figure later surpassed in just under 100 days.

The rapid success of Digicel at the time was mostly the result of the bitterness and resentment of the people combined with extraordinarily high rates and poor service from you, Cable and Wireless Jamaica. The name Cable and Wireless became synonymous with “Careless and Worthless” and in some cases “Cable and Worstest”, even workers who were protesting for pay increases used those words on their placards, yet you did not even budge from your crooked ways. It was not until after the massive advances of Digicel, a lightweight, into the formidable Cable and Wireless defenses, that you started to turn a blind eye.The quick and decisive defeat of your company to the hands of a smaller and weaker foe is synonymous to the events following the invasion of France in world war 2, only that your ‘indestructible’ and ‘insurmountable’ maginot line was composed of a monopolistic control of the telecoms sector instead of artillery, howitzers, forts and pillboxes.

The downfall of your company was received with no sympathy from the Jamaican populace, no one cared about the company and the resilient and loyal few were ridiculed, being referred to as “owners of cable and worthless phones” and when they were asked what phone they have they got: “people still use cable and wuthless?!” . This sort of resentment was and is caused by your company’s continued carelessness in regard to your customers, this is the very reason why your company is losing customers and power to an entrenched Digicel and the blitzkrieg utilizer Claro today. The company’s flaws continue to show with little or no effort by you to cover them.

Cable and Wireless have been, in the last 4-5 years, nothing but a train bearer for Digicel and, more recently, Claro. Look and learn from the techniques these company use, instead of arrogance use appeasement, give the customers WHAT they want, not what you want to give them. Give them reliable service, groundbreaking technology and a well organized support team all for an affordable price. Please take notice that Jamaica is a 3rd world country with first world thinking, we are smart, albeit poor monetarily. We are rich in intellect and culture, how else could we so small become a cultural superpower in the world? In simple terms; We are without money but not without sense. Treat us as such, let us think differently about the company, lets us think of the company as catering for our needs and wants, be a company for the people.

The last name change to LIME was stupid, plainly said. The fruit lime is known for its extremely sour and bitter taste which, coincidentally, seem to remind Jamaicans of the hardship they faced under the company. Along with the name change we got a long anticipated HSDPA 3.5G network, 2 years overdue. The prices that came with it was eclipsed by those being offered by Claro, which left us wondering: “Did LIME study the market before coming up with those prices?” Claro’s options were much better as well as having a wider coverage across Jamaica, making the choice between LIME’s and Claro’s offerings a no brainer. We then got EDGE(Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution), at a price 6 times that of the competition, years after Digicel made it available to Jamaicans. I was fascinated with the initial speeds I was getting from your system and decided to do a comparison between it and Digicel’s offering on my smartphone. The test went well and I even recomended your offering above Digicel’s because of it’s superior EDGE signal retention, this was until the system went haywire. At the end of the test I started getting 1-2kbps on EDGE which I dismissed as probably an error in system. The next day the same problem hit me, speeds of 0.5-2.5kbps were the norm and a simple Google page took a minute to load, I decided to let a week past without commenting. A month later the problem still persisted and now I was getting the ‘blazingly fast’ speed of 0.4kbps. I rung up friends and inquired, everyone was having the same problem, then I decided to call customer care. I got the shock of my life when an agent began to explain the fair usage policy to me, I was told that the policy applied to all levels of data available: 3.5G HSDPA, EDGE and standard GPRS. I was then told that the use of one form for an extended period of time will cause me to fallback to the one below it, that means from HSDPA to EDGE, EDGE to GPRS and GPRS to ? The question was: what will GPRS fall back to since it is the lowest common denominator? The answer I got was that I will simply get no connection at all. Now this is the craziest idea of a policy I have ever come to know in my life, no other telecoms operator had ever put a cap on prepaid GPRS usage, at least none that I know of. Now it leaves us to wonder how much data a prepaid user have to consume before that policy kicks in? Considering that 1mb of data requires 250$ of credit, or the equivalent of several minutes of calls or enough money to buy lunch for a day with money leftover, how can they cap something that no one can afford?

When will this outrageous pillage of Jamaicans from LIME end? Renaming and re-branding can only do so much because at the end of the day it will be the exact same company, with the exact same approach. This is my plea to the company: Change your ways, do anything that is required to put forth a change people can acknowledge and accept, not just re-branding. You have lost the mobile sector because of your ignorance of what Jamaicans want, it is just a matter of time before FLOW and Digicel eat into your last remaining reserves; the internet and corporate sector. Once you lose those you are done, gone, your once vast empire would be annexed and added to that of Claro’s, Digicel’s and FLOW’s, with no other option but to surrender unconditionally. This outcome is inevitable unless you change, unless you put the customer first and show us that you care, until then we will all but continue to despise and cringe at anything LIME.

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Horace is a military and tech enthusiast who spends most of his spare time listening to music or working on his many interests. He has a grasp of journalism and has been writing from he was 9 years old and has participated in several writing competitions throughout Jamaica.


  • Gregory

    Thank you for the history, this statement explains why I am now getting upload speeds of o.o4 ” I have been capped” it would appear.

  • garfield sinclair

    Horace, I’m new MD at LIME and would love to have a more detailed discussion with you about our business, products and services. Please let me know how I can get in touch with you if this is possible to do at your convenience.

    Looking forward to the connection



  • Alice A. Williams

    Nicely penned Horace! I am so disgusted with the service they offer too, of which I clearly penned myself in an email to them. My distastefully event was born from customer service interaction.

    BACKGROUND. First let me declare illiteracy in advance computer technology & communication technology. I was unfortunate enough to have a break-in and theft at my house, of which they stole my laptop with C&W modem (including all connection wires). What I call the modem is a grey fairly flat box that is connected to a telephone outlet; it was a ADSL service. I have had this service for at least 2 years (I cannot remember the exact date now) and I must admit during those years of service I had no problem WHEN I AM USING IT. So after theY stole the device, I called customer service to let them know I would like “the service” disconnected and I want to pay of my bill because I would like to be finish with “unnu”. I had conversation with two customer service representative that day , about “the service”, after which I went online and paid my last bill even the 0.37 cent. Nothing over! A few days after I got a call, of course I was suspicious as hell because with C&W history I just know that they are coming with something. So immediately after the person identified themselves as C&W I declared that I asked for “the service” to be disconnected so why are they (C&W) calling me!? Then the C&W personnel quickly told me that they wanted to know why I am discontinuing “the service”. I told them why and they offered a new device of which I refused. Few days later I saw a letter from LIME in my mailbox, (mix emotions= YEAH good customer certificate for always paying my bill even 2-3 months in advance / WHAT THE F#@^ “is this a bill). SURE ENOUGH IT IS A BILL. Why are they sending me a bill when I clearly stated that “mi wauh don wid unnu, so I am going to make my last bill payment”? Of course, this time around when I called the customer service, I get the best interpretation of their policy that what I had disconnected is the ADSL service and if I wanted to (get this now) completely disconnect “the service” I would have to pay my bill in full and go into their office (not just any outlet) and full out a form. IMAGINE MY DISGUST, I THOUGHT I ALREADY DISCONNECTED “THE SERVICE”.

    I emailed their customer service, print a copy, went immediately to an office (on Half-Way Tree Road), fill out the form and attached my printed email and left them with their bill.

    Their customer service personnel NEED Digicel type training. In other words, throughout the conversation with reps, nobody told me that the service they are disconnecting is ADSL and then now it would be my responsibility to let them understand that “I really want nothing more to do with C&W” which include bills. For a company that is here for so long should not allow a new company (DIGICEL because Claro nuh get it yet), to beat them at PLEASING and UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMERS. They should have enough data and complaints to furnish and explode a training seminar with real data. Horace said two and a half decades but who is counting (I born come see C&W and I am “little” over 25 years). 25 years of complaint should be enough for anybody to know what YOUR CUSTOMERS WANT.

    So sour LIME I cry shame on you for not getting it right.

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