Digicel acquires Transact
Digicel revealed yesterday that it has acquired internet service provider Transact.
The deal will allow Digicel to expand the range of services it offers in Bermuda, a point emphasised by the company’s chief executive officer Wayne Caines, who said yesterday that the company was evolving from being a wirless services provider toward becoming a full-service telecommunications provider.
In the short term, Transact will continue to operate under its current name and Digicel intends to absorb “as many of the Transact staff as possible”. Transact has a handful of staff in Bermuda and several others working from overseas.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Digicel said it had received all necessary Government approvals.
Transact was one of the Bermuda-based Igility Group of Companies, while Digicel is a privately held company with 11 million customers in 32 markets and a large presence in the Caribbean market.
Digicel’s move comes as telecommunications reform legislation, that would bring down the current licensing regime that restricts what services companies can offer, appears likely to be tabled in the House of Assembly before the end of the year. The proposals have been in the pipeline for the past four years.
Acquiring Transact will allow Digicel to move into the fixed-line ISP market, as well as offering long-distance calls.
“Bermuda is a high-calibre market and we always have to evolve with the market,” Mr Caines said in an interview yesterday. While he said he accepted that reform was to take place, the company had to “evolve constantly to make sure we remain number one in our marketplace and offer the best value to our customers”, he added.
Mr Caines said that under Digicel’s ownership, Transact would compete “on value, network and customer service”. He added that the deal solidified Digicel’s market-leading position.
“If there was any doubt that we were the number one telecoms provider in Bermuda, there should not be any more,” Mr Caines said. “Our competitor (CellOne) has indicated that they were the market leaders and we do believe they have made strides in the last couple of months.
“However, we have evolved considerably as a company, in offering innovative products and services, and will continue to lead the way in this market following this acquisition.
“We already offer more cellular services to more people than any other provider. Post acquisition, we will offer a more diverse range of telecommunications services, not only to our existing customers, but to all residents.”
The company also intends to move into the information communications technology (ICT) market, servicing business clients.
One of Digicel’s priorities will be to enhance the Transact network.
“Our first efforts will be to build further redundancy and capacity systems that will protect service reliability for internet customers,” Mr Caines said.
“After these technical milestones are completed, Digicel will continue its commitment to all residential and corporate customers to provide the best value, best service, and the best network as a cellular provider and now also as an internet service provider.”
Mr Caines said it had long been Digicel’s aim to offer a broader offering of telecommunications services and the acquisition of Transact was an important step towards achieving that.
“As part of our acquisition of Transact, we are planning to make available long distance voice services to all of Bermuda, which includes not only Digicel customers, but also any other cellular customer or any fixed line customer,” he said.
“We are excited about this planned service as we are eager to bring better long distance value to the people of Bermuda. The overall impact of this acquisition to the people of Bermuda is increased competition, which translates to better value and better service for all. This has long been our goal in the cellular market and we look forward to doing the same in the ISP and long distance markets.”
Bill Dickinson, CEO of Transact, said: “Over the past 20 years, Transact has had the pleasure of providing our customers with quality communication services in various forms. Transact wishes to thank all of our customers for their loyalty and patronage.
“I am pleased to know that our valued customers will be looked after by Digicel Bermuda, a company with a great track record of bringing better value, quality innovation and excellent service to the telecommunications industry. I feel confident that our customers will be in good hands and trust our customers will feel the same.”
Transact customer service will still be available by calling 272-4357 and the iStore, located on the upper level of the Washington Mall, will continue to be available for sales, bill payments and service queries. Customer bills will be delivered as usual and bills can still be paid using the same methods as before.
Jamie Thain, the chief innovation officer and a founder of the Igility Group, said he believed the ISP’s clients would be in good hands.
"The Transact customers will be better served in an organisation with the capital required to continue to provide newer and better services as they become available,” Mr Thain said yesterday.
“We wanted to ensure that our customers would have the highest level of care and attention and we believe Digicel is a group that can provide that result."
He added that his company had worked closely with the Digicel team over the last few months and “we know that they are focused on providing world class service to the customers in Bermuda”.
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