My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: March 2012

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

JCCUL JCUES is put on hold by the BOJ - ePayment setback means Mozido has been Bewitched



The recent much publicized about-face by the BOJ (Bank of Jamaica) with regards to JCCUL  (Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League) application to launch their new e-payment services aptly titled JCUES (Jamaica Credit Union e-Payment Services) as stated in the article “BOJ aborts JCCUL e-payment launch” published Friday  March 16, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner is an indication of how sensitive the Government of Jamaica is about money laundering and more particularly, Tax evasion.

So sudden was the BOJ’s decision to halt the JCCUL’s launch of JCUES that the announcement came a mere 24 hours before its official launch on Thursday March 15th 2012AD! Worse, no date has been set for when the BOJ will allow the JCCUL to go ahead with the launch of their service as stated in the article “No date set for JCCUL's e-payment system”, published Friday, March 16, 2012 by Y JULIAN RICHARDSON, The Jamaica Observer.


The obvious dejection could be seen on the faces of the delegates representing the Credit Unions of Jamaica as noted in the launch now turned sensitization launch on as stated in the article “JCCUL Converts Epayment Launch To Product Sensitization”, published Sunday March 18, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Had their launch been successful, they could have gotten a jump on the Commercial Banks, now waxing fat from the surge in interest in VISA Debit Cards as noted in my Geezam Blog article entitled “ScotiaBank’s VISA Debit Card – Jamaica’s Online E-Commerce Renaissance”.

Not only that, had the JCUES been approved and launched on Thursday, a technology similar to Google Wallet with an equally similar name Genius Wallet, would have made paying for goods and services with your mobile phone a reality as described in my blog article entitled “Mozido Jamaica Limited and Mobile Payments - Plants and Zombies say the Gods must be Crazy”.

This development would also have effectively marked the coming of a Cashless Society in Jamaica sans Credit and Debit Cards, much as already exists in Sweden as stated in the article In Sweden, Cash Is King No More In Sweden, Cash Is King No MorePublished Monday  March 19, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The BOJ’s statement on the matter, which was heavily guided by the Payment, Clearing and Settlement Act 2010, is quite blunt, obvious and clear, quote: “The public is asked to note that Bank of Jamaica has not received, assessed or signed off on the documentation and systems supporting the services proposed to be offered via JCUES. This would be necessary to ascertain whether any underlying risks are appropriately addressed. The bank has directed that the participants not proceed with the launch or offer of these products.”

As a bit of background, the JCCUL, which represents the more than forty two (42) in the thus far JA$66-billion unregulated Sector, does not necessarily answer to the BOJ. That’s the Commercial Banks, if you want to get technical.

Plus, their service, JCUES, was set up in partnership with Austin, Texas-based company, Mozido Jamaica Limited as mentioned in article “Mobile Money Provider Sets Up Shop In New Kingston”, published Wednesday June 8, 2011 by Avia Ustanny, Gleaner Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Mozido Jamaica was set to be the contractor for the new service, using their technology to provide e-payment services to the many unbanked Jamaicans i.e. Jamaican receiving remittances but not saving them in a traditional Commercial Bank or Credit Union.

A recently completed study on their number as announced by Director of the Centre of Excellence of the Mona School of Business (MSB) Dr Maurice McNaughton as noted in the article Jamaica Counting On its Unbanked”, published Friday, September 30, 2011, The Jamaica Observer only adds more fur to the desire that the JCCUL and Mozido Jamaica Limited have in accessing this untapped potential money making market.

Mozido’s original intention was to make money from the lucrative US$2 billion estimated remittance market in Jamaica. Their apparent partnership with the JCCUL as stated in the article “JCCUL launches mobile e-payment systemPublished Wednesday March 14, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner is therefore a means to an end, using their phone-to-phone e-payment technology to power the JCUES as a kind of Test sandbox for their real service: Remittances. 


Effectively, the members of the Credit Unions of Jamaica would have been the first guinea pigs for mobile e-payment in Jamaica using the following set of mobile phones:

  • BlackBerrys
  • Smartphones running Google Android
  • Feature Phone running Google Android
  • WAP or web-enabled Feature phones

According to General Manager of JCCUL Glenworth Francis, their services are to include:

  • Bill payment
  • Mobile Phone Top-Up
  • Commercial Bank and Credit Union Balance enquiry

They do clearly have Remittances in their sights, as General Manager of JCCUL Glenworth Francis is also quoted as saying: “Other services planned include remittances but this is subject to the approval of the regulator”

It was slated to be rolled out at the following twenty (20) Credit Unions in an initial Pilot launch on Friday March 23rd 2012AD:

  • Jamaica Police Credit Unions
  • C&WJ Credit Unions
  • St Catherine Credit Unions
  • Montego Bay Credit Unions
  • Churches Credit Unions

General Manager of JCCUL Glenworth Francis points out that, quote: “Only five credit unions were chosen as the pilot. This was done to ensure the system was compatible to the various financial platforms which credit unions use”

How does their service work? Again the horses mouth speaks best, quote: “Once registered, an activation code will be sent to either the mobile number or the email address provided. After the activation code is received members will set up the service on their mobile phone or the Internet by creating a password, four-digit pin as well as a secret word which gives access to the account”.

For an initial launch, their service prices were not too shabby:

  • JA$35.25 for bill-payment
  • JA$5.00 for balance enquiry
  • No charge for Mobile Top-up Services

Interesting things to note, security-wise:

  • Debit Card holders can register for the JCUES service at their respective Credit Unions
  • No data is stored on the phone, thereby making theft of mobile phones to gain access to people’s accounts pointless
  • All transactions are done using the four (4) digit pin and password over the customer mobile phone, both of which are encrypted

Thus, they can still challenge the BOJ’s ruling in court and in that light could have gone ahead with the launch of their JCUES as they had intended on Wednesday March 14th 2012AD as stated in the article “JCCUL launches mobile e-payment systemPublished Wednesday March 14, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But security for local transactions is not the main reason for the BOJ blockade. It mainly has to do with the ease with which this service can be used for money laundering as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Music Industry 2 Years post-Ban - How Artiste and Booking Agents Launder Money”.

Very easy for someone [read drug don or politician] to basically convert money obtained from an unaudited, unapproved source into a spendable form of currency, and worse, powered by a part of the Banking system that the BOJ really has no control over. Hence the BOJ has every right to be cautious.

Still, the potential draw of Banking remittances from Jamaicans is too hard for JCCUL and their partner Mozido Jamaica Limited to ignore as noted in the article “Battle of the digital walletsPublished Sunday March 18, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This as both of them have been Bewitched (2005) by the coming boom in Remittances as noted in the article Remittance Companies Bullish As Transfers Hit New Record published Sunday March 4, 2012 by Avia Colander, The Jamaica Gleaner.

More articles coming on this topic in the Geezam Blog as this story develops….

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

OUR Records Voice Decline for the Fourth Quarter of 2010 - Postpaid, Data Services and Fixed Line Mobile and Landline Saturday Night Fever for Telecom Providers


Telecom Providers are and still may be losing money from Voice Services since the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD. This despite Jamaica having a very high Mobile phone penetration with nearly three million (3,000,000) Mobile phones, way more than there are people in Jamaica, which is estimated to be about 2.7 million, effectively 17% more Mobile phones than there are people in Jamaica.

According to the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) report, Telecom Provider revenue declined by 26% during the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD from $7.3 billion from $9.9 billion for the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD!

Interestingly, Data Services are faring far better with the growing popularity of Wireless Broadband offerings such as those from Telecom Provider Digicel as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel and WiMax 4G Mobile - Back to the Future as NetFlix Expands”. But more surprisingly, the OUR also records growth in:

  • Data Services, particularly Mobile Data Services
  • Postpaid as well as in Fixed Line Services, both traditional Fixed Line Landline from Telecom Provider LIME based on outdated copper-wire twisted pair technology
  • Fixed Line Mobile based on sector-locked GSM (Global System Mobile) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple access), in some cases using the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) Layer to deliver VoIP services such as HomeFone Xpress as described in my blog article entitled “LIME Landline Rental Increase and HomeFone XPress - The Dead Zone is the Sum of All Fears

This stark revelation was made in a Jamaica Gleaner article entitled “More cells, but telecoms earn less”, published Wednesday March 21, 2012 by Steven Jackson, Business Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner. Apparently out of respect for the Telecoms Providers and a desire not to stoke the competition among these bitter rivals, this info had not been made public by the Regulator earlier

Good thing a New Telecom Regulator as well as a New Telecoms Act are in the pipeline as noted hopefully in my article entitled “Phillip Paulwell broker's Telecom Deal - Telecom Regulator and Mobile Number Portability Coming”, as this should have been well publicized before.

But the statistics, if you care to read them, confirm what I already knew: Switched Voice Services are dying as Data Services gains a foothold as I had opined in a more recent Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Cloud Telephony to Make Switched Voice Extinct”.

Generally the overall view of the Telecom Providers is as follows:

  • 17% more Mobile phones than there are people in Jamaica, effectively 3,000,000 Mobile phones, to 2.7 million Jamaicans
  • 26% decline in overall revenues for all three (3) Telecom Providers LIME, Digicel and CLARO during the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD to $7.3 billion from $9.9 billion for the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD!
  • 16% decline in revenue for Mobile, fixed and Internet service providers in Fourth Quarter of 2010AD JA$11.3 billion, when compared to the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD
  • Mobile Calls within each Telecoms Providers Network (On-Net Calls) accounted for 70.9% of revenues compared to 29.1% for Cross Network Calls
  • Mobile customer spent $340 less per month for calls within each Telecoms Providers Network in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD when compared to the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD
  • The ARPU (Average Revenue Per USER) declined from JA$2,245 in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD when compared to the JA$1,904 in the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD

Prepaid Mobile
  • 95% of the estimated 3.049 million Mobile phone users are Prepaid, with the  other 5% being Postpaid

Postpaid Mobile
  • 35% increase in Post-paid customer in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD to 133,000 from 98,519 in the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD

Fixed Line Mobile and Landline
  • 12% increase year-on-year in Fixed Line, both Mobile and Landline revenues to $3.4 billion
  • 7,000% rise in outbound international calls, representing 1.1 billion for the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD when compared to the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD
  • 6.3% decline year-on-year for Fixed Line Mobile and Landline services for Triple Play Provider FLOW and Telecom Provider LIME, representing 283,100 customers.

Mobile (Wireless) and Wired Data
  • 100% increase in Mobile Data revenue in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD to JA$609 million from JA304.5 million in the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD thanks to Mobile internet usage attributed to  Android and BlackBerry phones
  • 1.9% increase in revenue for Wired Broadband Internet services for Triple Play Provider FLOW, Telecom Provider LIME, Telecom Provider Digicel and Internet Service Provider Infochannel to $641 million in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD when compared to in the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD
  • 33.3% declined in Data subscriptions in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD to 76,300 subscribers from 57,368 subscribers in the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD

The problem Telecom Providers are faced with is that Data Services use up more T1 capacity and Bandwidth than Voice Services, and being that such services are metered i.e. charged by the Megabyte and not the minute, the APRU is smaller. Thus the above increase in Data Services is to be taken with a large grain of salt

This lower level of efficiency for Data Services when compared to Voice Services despite the growing popularity of Mobile Internet as the Apple iPad 3’s popularity as noted in my blog article entitledApple iPad 3 sports Retina Display, LTE and Bluetooth - Internet of Things heralds Pointer Sisters Automatic” heralds grave concern for the local Telecom Providers here in Jamaica.

But interestingly, the gradual slow rise in Postpaid as well as Fixed Line Mobile and Landline Services, especially the increased International Calling associated Fixed Line Mobile and Landline Services indicates a growing trend: Jamaicans are trying to save money by going for Monthly Paid Voice Services.

This as Fixed Line Mobile and Landline Services and Postpaid, long been the poor stepchildren of the Telecom Providers in Jamaica, is now seeing increase resurgence in the review period of the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD, as customer now realize that Postpaid services provide reliable services and are cheaper that Prepaid Services if you are a heavy Voice Services user.

Also, the “Fixed” nature of Fixed Line means that convenience for people and businesses who still like the idea of having a traditional House phone and its social implications, an indication of the maturity of the mobile phone market seeking convenience over cost savings.

Even more interesting, the increased adoption of Data Services, indicates that customers are beginning to realize that the can save on Voice Calling via the use of texting on IM (Instant Messaging) and Social Networking Platforms which increasing have VoIP Services such as Skype, now heavily integrated into Facebook as stated in my blog article entitledFaceBook deeply integrates Skype - Microsoft, the Ladykiller of Landline”.

Based on the above, the following conclusions can be easily drawn:

Truly, Data Services, Postpaid and Fixed Line Mobile and Landline represent Saturday Night Fever (1977) for increased profitability for Telecom Provider in the future. I just wish that the New Telecom Regulator makes such reports known in a timelier manner.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Apple iPad 3 sports Retina Display, LTE and Bluetooth - Internet of Things heralds Pointer Sisters Automatic

The Apple iPad 3 has finally landed with an earsplitting roar, as chronicled in my Geezam blog article entitled “Three’s a Charm as Apple iPad 3 Looms Large”. The CEO Tim Cook co-hosted event on Wednesday March 7th 2012AD at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in downtown San Francisco at 10 am

This as chronicled in the article “Apple iPad live blog (Wednesday, March 7)”, published March 7, 2012 4:20 AM PST by Josh Lowensohn, CNET News. How sweet it was, especially for me, as most of what I had predicted has come to pass!!

The month of March 2012AD was as predicted in my clairvoyant blog article entitled “Apple iPad 3 Launch on March 2012 - Amazon Kindle Fire is a Sweet Dream but a Beautiful Nightmare for Apple”.

So too were the specs of the Apple iPad 3 as slathered in the article Apple Unveils New iPad”, published Mar 7, 2012 11:24 am By Lex FriedmanMacworld  and the article Apple announces the new iPad: Retina display, 4G, and the iPhone 4S’ camera”, published MARCH 7, 2012BY MOLLY MCHUGH, DigitalTrends, which is now officially sporting the following significant specs:


Sorry folks, but I can’t be on the ball all the time. I missed on two significant predictions this time around:

  • 12 Megapixel camera as predicted in my blog article entitled “Sharp develops world's thinnest 12.1 Megapixel Camera”. Instead it a significantly improved 5 megapixel camera with HD (High Definition) recording capabilities
  • Siri Voice Assistant is not on the Apple iPad 3. Instead they have Voice Dictation, which is based on similar technology as Siri sans the Cloud-Server support


All this as noted in the article “Apple's new iPad: Hands-on”, published March 7, 2012 11:12 AM PST by Donald Bell, CNET News. Bluetooth 4.0 is the most significant feature, as it actually heralds a trend towards the Apple iPad 3 and other Tablets talking to each other without your prompting as suggested in the article “Forget LTE — the real iPad wireless story is Bluetooth”, published .

Even more interesting is that the consumers agree, as the Apple iPad 3 managed to rack up three million (3,000,000) served over the weekend starting from Friday March 16th 2012AD with the usual traditional long lines “Apple: 3 million iPads sold since launch”, published by Josh Lowensohn March 19, 2012 1:43 PM PDT.

The words of Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller, summed it up best after another profit making year, quote: “The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold--the strongest iPad launch yet”.

For those now finally catching the drift of Tablets but afraid of looking weird in public with a Capacitive Touch Screen Device but familiar with using a stylus as noted in “Here's who should buy the new iPad”, published March 13, 2012 5:45 PM PDT by Donald Bell, CNET News, you can either:


So aside from the possibility of a 7” Apple iPad coming up later in the year as speculated in the article “Is Apple eyeing a 7.1-inch iPad?”, published March 7, 2012 6:35 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News and my blog article entitled “Apple iPad 3 Launch on March 2012 - Amazon Kindle Fire is a Sweet Dream but a Beautiful Nightmare for Apple”, Mobile Gaming has gotten a big boost with the introduction of Quad-Core.

Soon even Portable Gaming consoles will be made extinct by the Apple iPad 3 and its ilk as predicted by my Geezam blog article entitled “Nintendo and Sony vs Smartphones and Tablets: Post – Portable Gaming Era”, my first signpost of a coming Post-Portable Gaming Era brought about by Quad-Core Apple iPad and other Tablets sporting Quad-Core.

Believe it or not, but the popularity of the Apple iPad appears to be driven by the so-called App Economy made up of out-of-work Software Engineers turned App Writers and programmers as noted by analyst TechNet in my blog article entitled “Amazon set to launch smartphone in Fourth Quarter of 2012AD - The App Economy and the Increasing Importance of Digital Content”.

Throw in  the fact that Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman predicts that one third of US Adults will own a Tablet by 2016AD as stated in the article “One-third of U.S. adults will own a tablet by 2016, says report”, published March 7, 2012 9:58 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News.

Mobile Computing is going to be VERY important to Telecoms Providers ramping up with their HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) Release 7 Networks and pushing towards LTE (Long Term Evolution) Mobile Broadband in the next five (5) years moving forward.

This as noted in the article 7 charts that predict the future of mobile broadband” published , Gigaom and the article “Cisco sees the mobile future and it’s in streaming”, published , Gigaom.

Already in Jamaica , Telecom Provider LIME is now publicly sandbox Testing their HSDPA+ Release 7 (???) 4G Networks as chronicled in my blog article entitled “LIME's 4G Experience Centers & Digicel's JA$8.99 One Rate Plan - Telecom Providers fear Municipal Wi-Fi SkyFall from Broadcasters DSO”. They are expecting much from Mobile Broadband.

Ditto to for Telecom Provider Digicel, also secretly testing their newly acquired 3G Network with plans to also ramp up to HSDPA+ relapse 7 Network and achieve 4G status.


Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME are BOTH clearly afraid of the growing power of Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1 Tech Services in Jamaica as alluded in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Introduces One Rate Calling for $8.99 in Jamaica”.



The Apple iPad 3 is merely riding on this coming wave of the popularity of Mobile computing, be it Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) of LTE. The Apple iPad 3 Retina Display, metaphorically speaking, is merely a reflection of the coming future of the Internet of Things.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Convergyns and Aegis Communications Call Centers Coming – FDI powered Call Center Renaissance in Jamaica thanks to our Good English

 
Folks it looks like a lot more happened at the JAMPRO (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) sponsored Jamaica Investment Forum recently held on Thursday March 1st 2012AD and on Friday March 2nd 2012AD at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James!

Media reports described the invitation only shindig dubbed “Invest in Jamaica: Invest in a Global Brand” as being oversubscribed, owing to the high level of interest and the profile of the speakers, mostly Government Ministers as noted in the article “Jamaica Investment conference oversubscribed”, published 2012-03-01 09:15:57, Go-Jamaica.com. Rare to see them so directly involved, as they usually send Ministerial Members in their stead.


Four hundred (400) delegates from nearly sixteen (16) countries is definitely oversubscribed.

Roll call please:
  • Russia and China
  • Sweden
  • Scotland
  • Serbia
  • Japan
  • Grand Cayman
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA
  • Canada and the UK

But the other big news aside from the Russians coming to make BioEthanol for Sorghum as noted in my blog article entitled “Russians see potential in Ethanol Fuel Plant in Jamaica – From Russia With Love for sorghum”: Ohio-based company, Convergys and US-based Aegis Communications Ltd are coming to Jamaica to set up Call Centers.

Some quick facts about Convergys:

  • Employs nearly 75,000 employees worldwide
  • Various Clients in 70 countries including T-Mobile, Telefonica of Spain, Macy and Cisco to name a few
  • 85 Call Centers Worldwide

This was the company that was hinted in The Jamaica Observer in November 2011AD entitled “American firm to bring up to 3,000 ICT jobs”, published Wednesday, November 23, 2011 BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant business Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

It was later revealed to be Convergys in subsequent articles “MoBay call centre to create 1000 jobs”, published Wednesday, December 07, 2011 BY PAUL ALLEN Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer and the article “Call centre to employ 1,000 in MoBay”, published Thursday, December 08, 2011 by Paul Allen Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Convergys their target amount of employees as being between one thousand (1000) to three thousand (3000) employees in a Sector is significant in a rapidly expanding ICT (Information and Computer Technology) Sector that already employs some eleven thousand five hundred (11,500) people.

This are reported in the Press Release from the JIS (Jamaica Information Service) entitled “Russians Interested in Setting up Ethanol Plant”, published Sunday March 4th 2012 by Donna-Marie Rowe, Jamaica Information Service. It was also echoed by the Jamaica Observer today Tuesday March 6th 2012 in the article “Russians interested in setting up ethanol plant”, published Tuesday, March 06, 2012 by JIS via the Jamaica Observer.

The Russians are definitely interested in Jamaica as a place to invest in the making of BioEthanol using sugary-sweet sorghum. Possibly other BioFuels such as BioDiesel, a definite catalyst for the Liberalization of the Motor Vehicle Fuel Production Section of the Energy Sector as predicted in my blog article entitled “Russians see potential in Ethanol Fuel Plant in Jamaica – From Russia With Love for sorghum” may also be in the works, a spur for Local investment in the Sector.

This move by Convergys and US-based Aegis Communications Ltd is a clear and obvious follow-on of the 2009AD investment by printer maker Xerox in buying ACS (Affiliated Computer Services) Ltd

They had also purchased ACS’s  assets here in Jamaica for US$6.4 billion in cash and stock back in September 2009AD as stated in the article “Xerox buys E-Services parent, ACS - US$6B deal to expand tech services business” published Wednesday September 30, 2009, The Jamaica Gleaner.  E-Services, previously owned by Patrick Casserly and Partners, was an asset he parted with for US$85 million.

Now it would seem that Call Centers are slated to make their mark in Jamaica as well.

This with the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire going as far as to take a bite out of Apple iPad 2 sales as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Amazon sells 5.5 million Kindle Fires in Fourth Quarter 2012 – Apple iPad sales drop and plans January Press Event” and my blog article entitled “Apple iPad 3 Launch on March 2012 - Amazon Kindle Fire is a Sweet Dream but a Beautiful Nightmare for Apple”.

The business it generated for ACS-Xerox is now well known and the investment in ACS is now being looked up on in Silicon Valley as a stroke of genius. With the looming possibility that Amazon may be launching a pair of smartphones in the Fourth Quarter of 2012AD as hinted in my blog article entitled “Amazon set to launch smartphone in Fourth Quarter of 2012AD - The App Economy and the Increasing Importance of Digical Content”, more business is definitely coming the way of the Jamaican operations for ACS-Xerox.

Best of all, Jamaica is now in the spotlight as the ideal Call Center destination. Hence the interest, as no doubt Convergys and US-based Aegis Communications are coming to Jamaica for the same reasons FDI (Foreign Direct Investor) Xerox getting into the Call Center Business via its acquisition of ACS (Affiliated Computer Services):

  • Call Center Business is an excellent form of diversification for Xerox, which has long been in the printing business now dominated by Hewlett-Packard
  • Jamaica speaks English as our First Language
  • We have excellent Fiber Optic Connectivity to the US and South America, making Jamaica the perfect place to Host Call Centers
  • Cheap, plentiful Labour willing and ready to work
  • Non-discriminatory workplaces employing people with various skill and education levels
  • The coming of Energy Sector Liberalization and large power company investors such as Canadian Solarmon Energy Corp and American-Based Green RG as stated in the article “Solamon Energy Corp & Green RG invest in Jamaica's Alternative Energy Future - Let the Cheaper Energy Hunger Games for Latin America Begin”, heralding cheaper electricity, a definite attraction of power-intensive ICT Sector Companies

Only this time, the Call Center Operators in question, Cincinnati, Ohio-based company, Convergys and US-based Aegis Communications Ltd, two (2) Fortune 500 companies hailing out of the US of A, are interested in more than just renting a building and using some slightly used Computers to run their Call Center, based on my first hand experience with working at ACS-Xerox.

Rather, Convergys is planning to build theirs [Call Center] from scratch in Montego Bay, with the intention to employ approximately one thousand (1000) CSA (Customer Service Agents) upon completion of their facility in the First Quarter of 2013AD.

They also have plans for more than three thousand (3000) eventually as stated in the article “New call centre for MoBayPublished Sunday March 4, 2012 by Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Sunday Gleaner. Worth repeating that number again, folks; that is a lot of idle people off the streets and no longer thinking of committing crimes.

This culled from the words of JAMPRO President Sancia Templer, quote: “They will start construction this year and have decided that they want to have a strong presence here, developing their own ICT centre. When you put brick and mortar in a country it means you are in that country for the long haul”.

Clearly, the Jamaica Investment Forum had the direct interest of the Minister of Government, who now realizes, more than ever, that their long-term future rests in encouraging FDI to come and invert in Jamaica.

Whether they plan to use Jamaica as springboard to offer Call center services to Spanish–speaking countries in Latin America is not Jamaica’s concern. After all, we should be very grateful and feel extremely lucky that Cuba is still under an embargo sanctioned by the US Government, making Jamaica the ideal launching pad.

All this because we are an English-speaking country!!!! We seriously need to thank the British for chasing away the Spanish in 1655!

Moreover, the gain in terms of Taxes, Licenses and employment to unemployment has political benefits as well for the PNP (People’s National Party) currently in power and seeking to remain in power by being an arbiter of Growth and development. Even if this is really a follow-on of the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) Macroeconomic Stabilization Policies………