Cel*Star heartened at business response to planned service By Shirwin Campbell
Guyana Chronicle
April 21, 2004

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`We have 80% of the handset market attending our meetings so we know exactly who we will be doing business with…’ - Cel*Star Prepaid Executive, Mr. Errol Aaron
CEL*STAR Guyana has reported tremendous response from the business community across the country to its planned cell phone service.

Speaking to the Guyana Chronicle Monday evening at the Tower Hotel in Georgetown where the final outreach was held, Cel*Star Prepaid Executive, Mr. Errol Aaron said there were similar meetings in Linden, New Amsterdam and Corriverton and the support was heartening, especially from Berbice.

He explained that the target audience was primarily business people, individuals “who are looking for opportunities to be involved in business to expand their existing business, to change the way they do things, but primarily focused on cellular and the scratch cards area.”

He said that at the meetings there were also importers of handsets enquiring about the specifications required; if Cel*Star will bring in handsets and how will it impact on their business.

“We have been able to answer their questions and provide the necessary information on other areas of concern” he added.

The importers were informed that at the initial stage handsets will be imported but they expressed concern about the difficulties they have experienced trying to import the handsets, and urged the company to import continuously.

Aaron assured them, “while first and foremost we are a service provider, handsets are the medium used and are a significant part of our business and we will not stand idly by, we will make sure that the market is adequately serviced, be it our involvement, the retailers or wholesalers, regardless which one it is we are going to be part of that.”

The next step is the ground work, identifying the major business contacts and having more hands-on with individuals and relationship building, he explained.

“We have 80% of the handset market attending our meetings so we know exactly who we will be doing business with and it is good to know that people want to do business with Cel*Star, there is a real desire” he reported.

The company still faces legal hurdles in launching its operations but Aaron said, “at Cel*Star we are pretty confident that the delays are more or less behind us and we are moving ahead full speed in terms of preparing for the launching of our services.”

The Interconnection Agreement was suspended by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph company (GT&T) when Cel*Star Guyana’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Wesley Kirton and individual or individuals attached to Cel*Star Caribbean Incorporated were locked in a dispute in Florida’s Eighteenth Judicial Circuit court.

Aaron said the message for Guyana’s business sector is, “Cel*Star is a business centred company; we come not only to provide a service to people but also business opportunities for the Guyanese people, and play our part in the overall development of the economy.”

“Cel* Star will be on the market pretty soon”, he projected, adding that the company was in the final stages of hiring people required for the first phase of the operations and that should be completed within another two weeks.

In his address to members of the business sector who overflowed the Hibiscus Room at Tower Hotel he said, “Cel*Star is just at its final steps of launching and while there have been delays we have reached the point where we are confident that these are behind us and as such we are presenting our opportunities for business.”

He promised that the operations will be so efficient that a customer would be able to walk into a store, purchase the equipment and leave with an activated phone minus any waiting period.

Cel*Star customers will be able to change handsets as often as they desire without having to pay for the transfer, he noted and said all necessary support will be provided to individuals and businesses vending Cel*Star materials and services, including training and technical and market support.

“You are our extension at the end of the day”, he informed the business owners and outlined his company’s desire to see them make a profit and not suffer any losses.

Engineers from Cel*Star were also on hand to give an overview of the technical aspects of the operations and answer questions.

Several businessmen present urged Cel*Star officials to ensure that they make life easier for Guyanese and expressed the hope that the quality of service promised will be maintained not just for the first six months but continually.