St Helena Online

Tag: Cable & Wireless

The number’s up for four-digit dialling

It’s not only water that is in short supply on St Helena, it seems – the island is also running out of numbers.

Cable & Wireless has announced that all the island’s telephones will have five-digit numbers from 1 October 2013, because the growing population means there are not enough four-digit numbers left.

From that date, they will all start with the number 2: leaving another range of numbers available for the introduction of mobile phones by 2015.

The news may come as a blow to producers at the BBC World Service programme Sportsview, to which Nick Stevens is an occasional contributor.

Editor Matt Davies told St Helena Online: “I am not sure if he is our most isolated pundit but we did note in the office this week that he was the one with the shortest phone number.”

SEE ALSO: Manchester United fan Nick goes global from St Helena

Going downhill fast: Cable & Wireless claims kart trophy

The Cable & Wireless kart takes a tumble. Picture by Neil George
The Cable & Wireless kart takes a tumble. Picture by Neil George

Seven improvised vehicles careered down the hill into Jamestown in St Helena’s first ever kart racing event, organised by the disability charity SHAPE.

Cable & Wireless was declared the overall winner at the end of a series of races in the Gravity Rush event.

The winners - by Neil George
The winners – by Neil George

Mike Olsson, reporting on Saint FM Community Radio, declared the event “a huge success.”

He said: An estimated 800 people watched the seven carts come down the street from AVES down to The Bridge in Jamestown.

“The event kept the town busy into the night. 

“The SHAPE kart was deemed to be the best design. Unfortunately, it had to withdraw later on due to technical problems. 

“This was a novelty for St Helena that undoubtedly will be repeated.”

St Helena Online comments: this was obviously a fabulous event – but maybe next year, the karts should start at Hutts Gate – it’s a drop of 2,000 feet, and downhill all the way.

A gallery of pictures by Neil George will be published on this site in the near future. 

Batelco completes buyout of Cable & Wireless; includes Falklands, St Helena and Ascension services

Now let’s see what greater synergies and pricing are brought to the island to benefit the community.

Batelco Group (Ticker: BATELCO), the regional telecommunications operator headquartered in Bahrain, today announced the finalisation of its recent acquisition of various companies from Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), which comprise its Monaco and Islands Division.

Batelcos Group Chief Executive Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa and CWC announced that, following the agreement entered into with CWC on 2 Dec 2012, all necessary regulatory approvals and conditions precedent have now been satisfied and ownership of specific companies has now been transferred to Batelco, effective today.

“As a result of this deal and the further diversification of our business we have the opportunity to deliver greater innovation and value to our customers across many markets whilst also enhancing our ability to maintain strong levels of profitability and to deliver on our commitments to shareholders,” concluded Shaikh Mohamed.

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New Cable & Wireless deal heralds mobile phones

Mobile phone masts could soon be springing up across St Helena (except on the bits that are to have wind turbines).

On Tuesday, 26 June 2012, executive councillors agreed the terms of a new telecommunications licence that should bring mobile phone technology to Jamestown, Half Tree Hollow and – who knows? – maybe even Sandy Bay.

“Full details of the agreement will be announced shortly,” reported governor Mark Capes, “but it combines price reductions with a significant improvement in services and new investment to allow for the introduction of mobile phones.”

If the Oberoi luxury hotel group agrees to run Shelco’s hotel at Broad Bottom, it will certainly want the kind of phone technology it already uses in some of the poorest parts of the world.

For Basil Read, it will be too late: there are no telephones out on Prosperous Bay Plain, where it will be building the island’s airport for the next three years, so it has brought in its own mobile phone equipment, linked to a service provider in South Africa.

And for Johnny Clingham, a St Helenian telecoms expert based in the UK, mobile phone coverage may not be enough to bring him home.

“I think it’s something that we need to have that would be beneficial,” said Johnny, speaking from Amsterdam, where he was on a trip to research high-speed communication. “But it’s the internet we want improvement on.

“We need to see what the improvements are. Until we see the full report on what they are going to get and whether other providers will come in, we don’t know whether it’s going to meet our needs.

“Mobile phones are great, but the quality of internet service is what we need.”

Cable & Wireless has exclusive contracts to provide communications and a TV service on St Helena. At a recent executive council (ExCo) meeting, councillors voiced disquiet about the service, and the high price of phone calls and a very slow internet connection.

The company’s licences expire on 31 December 2012.

Governor Capes said lengthy negotiations gained momentum when the UK government agreed to fund the island’s airport.

“That decision means that the future market for telecoms on St Helena looks much more attractive for Cable & Wireless,” he said. “Subject to a few minor amendments, ExCo approved the licences.”


Living here for the last couple of months it’s been quite a treat NOT to have the mobile going and feel the ‘need’ to check the phone every 5 minutes. Over dinner the other night we all agreed that the lack of smart phones in particular was a good thing – there was no anti-social updating of Facebook or Twitter. Shock, horror…you actually spoke to the people you were out with. I guess progress comes with a price though?

– Suzie Pearson, St Helena
Three months on St Helena – blog

‘Very high’ telecom charges prompt council debate

Cable & Wireless St Helena

‘Very high’ telecom charges prompt council debate

The “very high cost” of telephone and internet services in St Helena has been debated by its  executive council – as Cable & Wireless seeks to negotiate a new exclusive deal to provide telecoms on the island.

The unscheduled discussion among councillors reflects discontent among islanders over the company’s monopoly, and the fees it charges.

The company’s television charges are also due to rise, though that is because of an improvement in service prompted by an unavoidable technical upgrade.

Charges for overseas phone calls compare unfavourably with those on the sister island of Tristan da Cunha, where telephone numbers have a London 0203 code – meaning calls can be made to and from the UK at domestic rates.

Governor Mark Capes disclosed the later disquiet in his report from the Executive Council meeting of 12 June 2012. He said:

“Under Any Other Business we received an update from the Financial Secretary on the ongoing discussion with Cable & Wireless in relation to their proposals for a new ten-year exclusive licence with St Helena Government.

“A robust discussion of the issues followed in which councillors registered mounting concern about the present very high cost of telecoms and of broadband internet services in particular.”

A campaign to route an undersea cable via St Helena to provide a fast broadband service is said to have been taken up by officials in London, but it is thought it would not significantly affect the cost of internet services on the island.

Efforts continue on St Helena broadband

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