Caribbean mobile telephone operator Digicel founded by Business Observer nominee Denis O’Brien was last night unveiled as the winner of the “Best Operator in a Developing Market” award at the World Communications Awards 2010.
Announced at a glittering awards ceremony at London’s Park Lane Hilton in the UK, Digicel beat strong competition from the likes of Etisalat Misr, Ezecom, Gateway Communications, Orange and Viettel Cambodia to take home the top prize.
Winners of other categories on the night included Bharti Airtel, BT Global Services and Verizon and the event was attended by over 600 of the industry’s top executives from across the globe.
The World Communications Awards are the foremost global telecoms awards and “recognise the companies and individuals responsible for the innovations, achievements and great new services that are helping to build tomorrow’s industry”. They are open to all communications providers across the globe from traditional carriers and service providers to multimedia content providers.
The focus of Digicel’s award entry for the category was its work in Haiti both before the January 12th earthquake – in bringing mobile services to those that never before could have dreamed of having them – and since, as it has strived to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild in the wake of the devastation and to ensure that they stay connected to family and friends.
As the single largest private investor in Haiti – with an investment of over US$370 million to date – Digicel is also the largest mobile provider there serving over 2.4 million customers.
Digicel’s 2005 launch in Haiti saw mobile prices coming down significantly and mobile penetration going from a very low 5% to over 35% today – largely thanks to Digicel. In fact, according to the French development agency, Proparco, Digicel Haiti has directly and indirectly contributed to a remarkable 20% of the country’s GDP growth between 2005 and 2007 (14% directly, 3% through suppliers and another 3% through retailers).
Since the January earthquake in Haiti, Digicel has committed over US$20 million to the relief and recovery efforts in Haiti – a contribution which was recognised when the Mayor of Port- au-Prince named Digicel Chairman, Denis O’Brien, a goodwill ambassador to the city.
In commenting on winning the World Communications Award, Digicel Group CEO, Colm Delves, said; “Our win in this category is testament to the important work we have done, and continue to do, in Haiti – and indeed across all of our 32 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific.
“To be recognised on the global stage at being the best at what we do is no small achievement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their ongoing support and all of our wonderful staff for their hard work and commitment to making Digicel Bigger and Better each day.”