If you don’t already know, Lime and Digicel are the leading network/communications providers on this island. They’re somewhat mismatched rivals, with Lime taking the part of tenacious old-timer and Digicel as the upstart youth.
The fact that I have a phone with the Lime network when most people I know own a Digicel is lamented by all my friends. It’s so much more expensive to call cross-network, and then they can’t text me with their Digicel-only free texts. This is the only reason most people here have three two (Digicel recently bought out Claro) phones.
Usually the networks are in pretty close competition but lately Digicel has been turning up the heat, forcing Lime to step up or step off. Digicel introduced their Gimme 5 promotion, Lime came up with Fave 5 mobile plan. Digicel has bombarded its customers with attractive deals – free calls after 9pm with prepaid calling credit topups of $200 or more; easy ways to check your prepaid credit balance, send credit and even request that credit be sent to you. Lime has been dragging its feet in offering anything remotely similar. The result has been a mass and steady exodus of one-time Lime customers to the newer, hotter Digicel brand, perhaps made even worse by Digicel’s new super-low cross network rate.
That cartoon got it wrong, then. After being the telecommunications Goliath for so many years, Lime is probably about to be slain by their very own David. Attached as I am to my network, this dilemma is all their own doing. They monopolized the Jamaican communications industry for years, barely changing their MO when Digicel appeared on the scene as saviour to the mobile-owning pubic. And now when healthy competition should foster innovation they are letting themselves stagnate, consistently losing business by staying three steps behind their shark-paced rival. Perhaps Lime is content with its loyal clientèle – they’re certainly rich enough to be – but at the rate they’re going I don’t see them reclaiming the Jamaican market any time soon. But I hear they’re big in Trinidad.