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Blink | Bmobile Bouncing Back

Following the recent disclosure that TSTT, declared a loss of over $500 million for the financial year ending March 2014, acting CEO of the company, George Hill, announced that the company was already experiencing a recovery in its bottom line.

At a special breakfast meeting with business and technology journalists held at the company’s Edward Street office, Hill was pleased to announced that at the end of the first quarter for the current financial year, the company was on target with its five-year strategic plan, for both financial and operational milestones.

Hill explained that the strategic plan identified Infrastructure, automation and organization transformation as key pillars for moving towards strong profitability through targeted growth and operational efficiencies. “When we look at what we are trying to achieve based on our strategic plan, we took a decision to absorb the exceptional one-off costs in the first year which resulted in the loss, with the understanding that if we stayed on play, we will begin to see tangible operational and financial improvements from year two of the plan.”

Unaudited results of TSTT’s first quarter performance was showing revenue growth and cost reductions that were in line with the plan. Having achieved the key milestones to date Hill said he was optimistic about the future of the company and if it continued according to plan, the company could earn profits in excess of $100 million at the end of the current financial year.

An integral part of the Organisation Transformation were the voluntary separation programs. “It was a necessary one-time cost which will streamline the company, resulting in greater efficiency and profits in the future” said Hill. At the same time, Hill said the company treated the separation of its employees as more than just a matter of taking a cheque and leaving. “The separation of someone from an institution must be treated with dignity and respect. Some of the employees leaving have anywhere between 2- 40 years of service, so each month, we host a farewell reception for staff leaving in that month to thank them, because we recognize the importance of their service and the things they have done for the company.”

Alongside those tough decisions however, the company has been able to follow through with its commitment to improving its network infrastructure which includes changing out parts of its copper plant to fibre optics in order to maximize the utility of the company’s core IP network. Major fibre optic and wireless broadband projects have been put in motion. Underserved communities will be able to receive wireless broadband access using LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology. Wireless broadband in communities such as in Sangre Chiquito, Rancho Quemado, Cheeyou and Golden Lane allows the company to better cater for the needs of customers now and in the future.

Hill said the company was preparing for the future not just in TSTT but on a national scale and had demonstrated this through its partnership with Samsung and the Ministry of Education, for the recent launch of the Samsung Smart School project to modernize classrooms and with the Ministry of Science and Technology for Smar.tt Access Centres in rural communities.

In Tobago a new fibre optic ring had been built encircling the island and more fibre optics were being deployed in several areas. The store Bay Local Road was placed on fibre which enabled Blink to launch a new TV entertainment solution for hotels and guest houses. Hill shared that the pilot for this project was recently launched in Rovanel’s Hotel, and demonstrated how the company was not taking a business as usual approach to providing communications technology solutions for customers.

Several other projects were being rolled out as the year progressed and Hill explained that the company’s plan includes raising TT$1.5bn in financing. “The strength of the company’s balance sheet was evident from the number of companies that expressed serious interest in brokering this financing which we hope to have conclude in August.

Journalist were also given a preview of TSTT’s technology room where the company demonstrates current and upcoming technology solutions for customers. Hill said TSTT was committed to ensuring homes and businesses in Trinidad and Tobago had access to the best available products and services that provided real value for money. “The diversity of our wired and wireless networks means we can offer the best of both worlds and provide solutions that really suit customers’ needs.”