Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Gibtelecom extends cheap rate for international calls

by Peter Schirmer

Faced with growing competition from two local companies which offer cheap international calls, Gibtelecom, the Rock’s major telecoms operator has extended its “884” cost-cutting service to a 24-hour/seven-days-a-week basis.

Introduced initially to provide cheap weekend calls, the service was later extended to cover the hours between 8pm and 7am on weekdays.

The new cut-price day-time calls came into effect yesterday and a flat rate of 12p a minute will apply to international calls to all destinations.

Gibtelecom has been reluctant to extend the 884 service across the board, as management regarded it as competing in effect with its existing day-time IDD (international direct dialing) operations. However, IDD revenues have been hit fairly hard by the cheaper-call operators.

Although the 884 calls will cost slightly more than those to some destinations that the cheaper operators provide, the new service should have strong appeal, Charles Fortunato Gibtelecom's General Manager said.

Customers will have only one bill to pay. They do not need to pay for the calls in advance; and there will be no need to consult tables of charges because there is the flat 12p per minute cost of the service – whether you are phoning Britain, Australia or the United States.

Ironically - given that Mr Fortunato has spent much of his working life at GibNynex and then Gibtelecom in reducing the burdens on the telecoms companies’ maintenance and support staff – he is currently preparing the company to provide “24/7” staffing for computer services, engineers and problem solvers.

The growing importance of our customers in the internet gaming industry – most of whom work on a seven day 24 hour basis – makes this approach inevitable,” says Gibtelecom CEO Tim Bristow.

In the past we have relied on having a skeleton staff of people on call if there is a problem, but this is not good enough to meet our customers’ needs in an environment where business – both in gaming and in financial services - is increasingly carried out on the Internet.

Talks with employees explaining the changes and the need for more shift working have gone well and there has been little, if any opposition. Could this be because some fairly hefty overtime payments for shift work are on the cards? “Yes, we will be paying overtime,” Mr Fortunato confirmed.


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