The Fundamental Currency is Time…

The fundamental currency is time.

Of this, we are given an allowance,
which may be revoked without notice.

It may be traded for other forms of currency.
Squandered.
Simply enjoyed.

It may not be saved…

Tick, tick, tick….

Copyright 1988 Chris Halsall. All Rights Reserved.

Government to blame for C&W stranglehold

By Chris Halsall with contributions from Douglas Skeete

IN any jurisdiction, companies operate ultimately under the legislation created by a central authority, i.e. the Government. Therefore, the argument can easily be made that this authority must seek to devise, and more importantly enforce, legislation preventing companies from inhibiting the development of liberalization and fair competition.

Publicly traded companies (those listed on one or more stock markets) tend to act particularly aggressively, as they are dependent upon ever greater profits in order to raise their share price. Their executives’ remuneration packages are invariably tied to this, and often current (and ex-) employees hold a number of shares as well.

The stock market is a harsh mistress. Therefore a public company’s primary concern is about “making the numbers” for the next quarter — everything else is secondary. Stock prices have even been known to fall when a Company does manage to make their numbers, but do not “exceed analysis’ expectations”.

There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. To the contrary — it is raw capitalism at its purest; the most effective form of wealth creation ever devised by humans. But it must be appreciated and understood: capitalism is heartless, and companies feed upon their markets.

Read more…

Understanding Cable and Wireless in Barbados

By Chris Halsall, with contribution by Douglas Skeete

IT is reasonable to observe that before one can control something, one must understand it.

Cable and Wireless (C&W) is, arguably, simple to understand. It is an example of the organism known as the Company. Dogs have a tendency to bark. Barracuda have a tendency to bite. Companies have a tendency to work to maximize their financial returns using every means at their disposal.

This metaphor is not used in jest, but instead as a serious model. Companies exist in ecosystems like any other organism, and will behave in predictable ways towards the furtherance of their own self interests. They are what are known as “autonomous agents”, or “Actors”, within a system. It is worth noting that, legally, a Company is a Person.

Publicly traded companies (those listed on one or more stock markets) tend to act particularly aggressively, as they are dependent upon ever greater profits in order to raise their share price. Their executives’ renumeration packages are invariably tied to this, and often current (and ex-) employees hold a number of shares as well.

The stock market is a harsh mistress. Therefore a public company’s primary concern is about “making the numbers” for the next quarter — everything else is secondary. Stock prices have even been known to fall when a Company does manage to make their numbers, but do not “exceed analysis’s expectations”.

Read more…

A funny thing happened on the way to the competition…

By Chris Halsall

CONSUMERS in Barbados who have been early adopters of new telephony offerings should be commended. Not only have they encouraged competition, but some have faced some strange challenges…

Imagine that you have just activated your new service, using one of the new competitive providers. You call everyone you know using your new phone, and gloat about how great it is. Clarity is amazing. Calling features are astounding. You’re doing the “happy dance”.

But, strangely, some people start telling you that they cannot call you back on your brand new phone number… This becomes a serious issue — a phone which can’t be called is not much use.

Why would this happen? Well, it is actually quite simple…

Read more…

Calling Cards – Coming to Barbados. Eventually….

Everywhere you go in the world, you’ll find Long Distance Calling Cards.

Everywhere, that is, where the telecommunication industry has actually been liberalized and competition actually exists.Calling cards are retail products provided by telephony carriers to consumers, providing access to alternative (and completely legal) long distance services. These are usually available in $5 to $20 denominations, and provide a local telephone number for the customer to call and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use.

The per-minute rates provided are very competitive. For example, during a recent trip to Canada your author purchased three different calling cards from three different providers, from a choice of over twenty. The rates from Canada to the United States and Europe ranged from six to ten cents (Barbados currency) per minute.

How calling cards work is quite simple - from the consumers’ perspective they simply use a regular telephone or cell phone, and dial a local number. This connects them to an automated calling platform which authenticates the user (using the PIN, credit card, etc), and then presents “long distance dial-tone” - the customer then dials the long distance number desired, and the call continues.

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Telecom liberalisation would enhance Barbados’ competitiveness

By Randy Howard

THE liberalization of the local telecommunications market is not only good for consumers, but would also greatly enhance Barbados’ level of competitiveness vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

This was the argument made by Director of the consulting firm Ideas 4 Lease, Chris Halsall, in an interview with the Business Monday.

Halsall was very passionate when he made the argument, stating that “as long as our telecommunications rates as high as they currently are, we’re not going to be anywhere near as competitive as, for example, Mexico, India, and Thailand. There are a lot of places in the world with much better telecoms at much better rates.”

He was making this point regarding the issue of the current state of long distance telecommunications, the cost of which he believes to be too high.

He stated that “International voice is Cable & Wireless’ traditional cash cow” and that no one should be angry with them because their job is to maximise their returns. However, he is of the view that there needs to be a “true elimination of these outrageous long distance charges – and the only way to achieve this is with regulation.”

Read more…