Business

Blazing Ahead of the Competition

Islandcom revolutionizes the TCI wireless market

By Kathy Borsuk

Imagine being able to download your favorite tunes, photos, movies, streaming videos and games into your Blackberry, iPhone or iPad with lightning-fast speed. Surf the Web and access email while making a call! Want to see who you’re speaking to while you talk? Tired of hard-to-hear and dropped mobile calls? TCI is poised to step into the new generation of improved telecommunications with the launching of world class 3G service by local provider Islandcom Wireless. Stand back and prepare to be awed, as the winds of change sweep by!

All the latest devices work on Islandcom's new 3G network.

All the latest devices work on Islandcom's new 3G network.

Islandcom, TCI’s only locally owned wireless carrier, has been re-born into a cutting-edge entity called Islandcom Wireless. It’s a competitive, high-tech firm that’s ready to bring speed, performance and sophistication to the TCI wireless market.

We last reported on Islandcom in late 2008, when it had just welcomed Bermuda Digital Communications (a subsidiary of industry giant Atlantic Tele-Network) as a major shareholder, strengthening the company originally dreamed up by Salt Cay native Sandra Garland in 2004 when the TCI telecommunications industry was deregulated. BDC’s influence led to a major restructuring of Islandcom plans, and in March 2009, their international team of telecommunication specialists began work on a $6 million commitment to build a 3G network in the Turks & Caicos. Islandcom Wireless CEO Kate Bonner explains what was involved, “We removed all our original equipment from the eleven existing shared cell towers and updated them to UMTS. We also added seven new cell towers of our own. By the end of this year, we will have Islandcom 3G coverage operating in twenty sites around the country, including Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Grand Turk.”

3G is the third-generation evolution of wireless technology. It uses a UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) which provides more “robust” service by utilizing a larger bandwidth with which to carry data. As Kate explained, in real terms this means that cell phone calls are of better quality: clearer and less likely to drop or not connect. It also means that you’ll now be able to take advantage of all the features on your “smart phone” that were not supported by the existing 2-G network: thanks to sizzling speeds rivaling hard-wired computers when it comes to transferring data, including music, photos, streaming videos and games. Plus, you can enjoy simultaneous voice and data capabilities allowing you to talk on your phone and surf the Net at the same time. And, because Islandcom Wireless provides international roaming, you can take your 3G service with you when traveling overseas.

According to the enthusiastic CEO, who boasts 24 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, “We started testing our network in December 2009 and were delighted to confirm that after an independent competitive test drive analysis, we can document that we offer clearer call quality, wider coverage and fewer dropped calls than our competitors.”

In the meantime, Islandcom upgraded its retail outlets on Providenciales and Grand Turk, plus added full service dealers in North and South Caicos. Here, Bonner promises, customers will find the latest and coolest 3G handsets and smart phones, including the much sought-after Apple iPhone, HTC Nexus Google and Blackberry Bold 9700. The stores will also carry such innovative devices as the Apple iPad and HP Mini Netbook, along with the wireless USB Modem which allows you to access 3G service on your laptop computer, all at very competitive prices. She adds, “We also think we have the best staff and salespeople in the country! They’re young, hip, charismatic, and very knowledgeable about our products. We want to take customer service to a whole new level.”

In tandem, Islandcom’s rate plans and call bundles — either pre-paid or post-paid — are easy to understand, yet comprehensive and competitive. Paying bills, topping up and checking voicemail can all be done on-line, while pre-paid top-up is available in 47 TCI locations. Islandcom Wireless’s corporate department offers custom-designed suites of voice and data services, including innovative data applications, to make it easy to conduct business from remote locations and coordinate your workforce. Corporate Account Manager Manno Papachristou explains, “Because we’re new, local and committed to technology, we’re very nimble and can react quickly to the specific needs of the local business community.”

Founder Sandra Garland is proud to say that the “new and improved” Islandcom hasn’t left its core values behind. “Our company remains committed to hiring and training locals, and 78% of the current workforce are Belongers. We’re also sponsoring several community events including the Fool’s Regatta, Eco-Swim, Big South Regatta and Grand Turk Billfishing Tournament.

Islandcom Wireless is due to launch in June, exploding into the marketplace with special offers including free data service for three months and free Islandcom to Islandcom calls. Don’t blink or you may miss it!

For more information, visit www.islandcom.tc or visit Islandcom’s retail stores in Graceway Plaza in Providenciales or Windmills Plaza in Grand Turk.



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