LIME Grenada Ltd is a well established company that has been in operation since 1989 on the island of Grenada. Currently, LIME Grenada serves a customer base of over 109,000 residents, excluding the large number of visitors to its shores. This company has a significant role to play in bringing the telecommunication services to the nationals of Grenada. They are referred to as the market leader in fixed-line services and broadband services in the state of Grenada.
As a result, this company has the competitive advantage of offering the widest range of broadband and fixed-line services. With one competitor namely DIGICEL, LIME Grenada operates as one of the leading providers of mobile technology and as such, facilitates an important aspect on the path towards globalisation. “Mobile communications have fundamentally changed the way in which we are able to live our lives. The way we work, the way we play, the very way in which we communicate have all changed since the advent of the mobile phone” (Cable & Wireless Communications Plc. 010).
This company, competing strongly with its market challenger DIGICEL, offers a wide choice of quality, leading-edge mobile devices including the latest blackberry, Samsung galaxy and much more of the latest gadgets used in data and voice services to ensure that nationals of Grenada is on the same level with the rest of world. In terms of fixed-line services, LIME Grenada stands strong since they are the sole provider of this service which facilitates the quick and easy communication amongst nationals themselves and the rest of the world.
With the provision of broadband services via fibre-optic submarine cable and satellite system, LIME Grenada proves be very valuable in the transformation of various means of conducting activities. In the education sector, LIME Grenada facilitates E-learning through the provision of internet or broadband services. Students are no longer confined to the walls of a classroom since LIME Grenada makes it possible for persons to pursue education through distant learning via the internet. Individuals are now able to access, interact and share information without the physical classroom.
Importantly, this company allows easy access to a wide choice of sources of information for educational purposes to enhance learning and teaching. Added to this, is the implementation of videoconference connectivity to link campuses on the island and thus, allow access to a wider range of programmes to all individuals. This was not possible many years ago, however, with the assistance of LIME Grenada this has become a reality. The education sector is therefore transforming in this rapidly evolving digital society as Grenadians are now privileged to capture and utilize various educational opportunities.
In Grenada’s domestic business sector, there is an increasing use of the internet, a key factor propelling ICT use, for conducting business transactions. In the banking sector, LIME Grenada makes available the opportunity for banking institutions to provide 24-hour online services to their customers. Persons can visit the various websites and access their accounts to conduct and view transactions. Among the many companies are Grenada Cooperative Bank, Republic Bank Grenada Ltd and First Caribbean International Bank. Furthermore, individuals and businesses can also conduct electronic commerce (e-commerce) via the internet.
One such example of this is Carriasoap. com where numerous electronic, household, office and even party supplies are sold over the internet. Besides the aforementioned, LIME Grenada also provides employment opportunities in the business sector as the company endeavour to meet the needs of its market. In the not too distant future, there is high anticipation for the potential use of the broadband services provided by LIME Grenada to include E-taxation services through the Electronic Governance Regional Infrastructure Project (E-GRIP) within the country.
This would comprise persons registering online and obtaining a tax identification number, taxpayers filing their monthly and annual returns online and taxpayers paying their taxes online thereby avoiding long lines. With the introduction of this system, the Inland Revenue Division will provide 24 hour online services to all taxpayers (Mitchell, Keith C. 2013). There is also the potential for development of an ICT knowledge park, the provision of WI-FI service in public buildings such as Government offices, schools, hospitals and police stations, which has already begun as stipulated by Prime Minister Dr.
Keith Mitchell in his budget presentation in March of this year. With this, the importance of the telecommunication sector in Grenada is certainly visible. With proper measures in place the telecommunications sector is bound to encourage technology transfer across the globe which results in improved productivity in all sectors and increased standard of living. On the contrary, there are many hurdles that may be faced by LIME Grenada Ltd in the telecommunication sector.
With globalisation, competition among mobile operators is inevitable. In Grenada, this is evident with the establishment of DIGICEL, a company offering mobile services to nationals of the country. This has ended LIME Grenada’s monopoly in that aspect and increased the potential for the penetration of other mobile service providers. Although competition amongst companies results in low costs and continuity in bridging the digital divide, LIME Grenada has to critically improve services in order to effectively compete with its rivals.
This company has to look critically at the services they can offer and at the pricing strategies they can use so as to counteract the hindrances or threats that new competitors present. They have to effectively monitor their competitor’s strategies and develop many ways to counteract their plans and tactics to gain customers. Another hurdle that LIME Grenada may be faced with is the ability to speedily obtain updated technological and communication infrastructure and to modify operations.
As with many other developing countries in the Caribbean region, lack of resources, particularly financial and qualified human resources, may also significantly hamper their development process. The telecommunication sector in Grenada is not alone in facing challenges on the path towards rapid growth and expansion via the globalisation process. According to Hylton, Shallon (2012), in Jamaica the challenges encountered with the provisions of telecommunication services vary in nature.
Despite the many employment opportunities, there still remains a shortage of trained and highly qualified workers in the field. There is also the problem of cybercrime ranging from software conspiracy, the spreading of software viruses, software hacking and phishing. In Barbados, the high cost of the underlying transport network is creating a drag on the economy…. Service firms are keen on liberalization of telecommunications services. Hotels, tour operators and travel services recognize the need for a state-of-the-art network infrastructure for local and international clients.
Banks, insurance firms and retailers are heavy data users that require economically priced telecommunications services to be competitive….. Service companies are already at a disadvantage in the lending market due to regional loan practices that fail to recognize intellectual property and soft assets as a basis for working capital. Barbadian service firms advocate telecommunications reform to lower the cost of communications (Schmid, Linda. 2013). Overall, in previous years, people could not communicate across the world or interact without barriers, delays or difficulty (Hylton, Shallon. 012. p. 3). Currently, the new digital and mobile technologies along with the internet services offered by LIME Grenada allow persons to operate as if the world has no boundaries. Grenada in undertaking the liberalisation of its telecommunication market enhances its competitive position and economic growth and improvements in many sectors. Though there are challenges, the benefits outweigh them significantly. The literature exploring the significance and impact of telecommunication in this globalising world is quite extensive.
Jeniffer Mohammed in Caribbean Studies– An Interdisciplinary Approach (2007) provides a critical insight into information on globalisation and information and communication technologies (ICT’s) which has guided this research thus far. Mohammed stated, “What a truly globalized world is about is one where there is a ‘level playing field’, where, for instance, everybody can benefit from the trade in technology. This has been happening with cell phones. From the nomadic people of the Sahara to Caribbean people in shanty towns to fishermen going about their trade, almost everyone uses cell phones to communicate.
This is an example of something that has been truly globalized and gives us a good understanding about what globalization as a process is really about. It is not that those groups of people are necessarily communicating globally, but the use of the cell phones is a global phenomenon touching all income groups”. (p. 270). “Digital technologies, the internet and cell phones truly operate as if the world has no border…This is the logical meaning of – globalisation – whether applied to trade, finance flows or communication- for some commodity to be equally available to all, anywhere, as if the nation- state did not exist”(p. 70).
Moretti, Marco (n. d), in his writing in Globalisation of Mobile and Wireless Communication: Today and in 2020 (2010) stated “what is happening to the mobile communication market is a good example of positive globalization: in few years mobile phones have spread all around the world becoming a low-cost tool capable of providing wireless connectivity almost everywhere”(p. 19). “Mobile communications, thanks to the effect of a globalized process of development, are probably one of the most effective means to close the digital divide”. p. 23). The World Bank in their June 2012 publication stated “Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have great promise to reduce poverty, increase productivity, boost economic growth, and improve accountability and governance. That promise only grew when ICTs underwent a revolution in the 2000s. Nearly 5 billion people in developing countries now use mobile phones, up from 200 million at the last decade‘s start, and the number of Internet users has risen 10-fold. People across the globe do much more than chat and play games.
They learn where best to fish and what market to sell their produce in. They trace cattle from pastures to supermarkets. They report illegal logging and misuses of local budget. They pay bills, send money back home, and receive cash transfers. They do business on mobile phones. They use ICTs to prevent violence against women—and community radio to empower them. They get state-of-the-art schooling online……. Governments can use ICTs to transform public service delivery across sectors—health, education, social protection, justice, agriculture, water, energy, and transport—both central and local.
ICTs offer an opportunity to revolutionize public service management by capturing information efficiently in shared databases accessible to all government agencies (such as a national database of electronic identification of citizens). ICTs help governments to simplify administrative procedures and share services (such as citizen authentication and payment systems). And governments can pool resources, reduce costs, adopt common standards for information exchanges, and perform government functions more efficiently (with faster response time and fewer errors)” (The World Bank. 2012).