Cable & Wireless Panama is an excellent example of how privatization of a Government-owned telecoms operator can deliver huge benefits to a country. The Panama privatization, conducted in 1997, was very similar to the process that is planned for the Bahamas and BTC. Cable & Wireless Panama’s business has been on a journey from being a state-owned monopoly (like BTC) to what is now an competitive, customer-focused, but socially-conscious organization, that has been ranked by surveys one of the most admired company in Panama. Cable & Wireless Panama has a strong relationship with the union which represents its workers – a testimonial from the union leader at the Company is below.
On May 20th, 1997, Panama´s state-owned telecommunications company, INTEL, S.A was privatized with Cable & Wireless acquiring a controlling interest in the company.
Since 1997 the company has contributed to the Panamanian economy with more than US$4,660 million in dividends, investment, taxes, regulatory fees and licenses; occupying a leading position among companies in Panama. It has contributed more in dividends to the Panama Government (from its stake in the business) than any other Government shareholding.
With the privatization of INTEL, S.A. in 1997 and the opening of the market to competition in 2003, CWP has played an active role in providing interconnection facilities to other operators. It has been committed to ensuring a fully competitive environment as well improving its services for customers.
In a fully open telecommunication market with competition in all services; Cable & Wireless Panama (CWP) is the biggest mobile operator with over 2.7 million customers and 58% market share. In broadband, CWP has more than 140,000 customers and in fixed telephony more than 400,000 lines being the market leader in both segments as well. Recently, CWP extended its services into TV, launching a Digital pay TV business with more than 200 channels. The service has been instantly popular, already gaining more than 15% of the market share. This product service platform allows customers to enjoy a full “quad play” offer (mobile, fixed-line, broadband and TV), and CWP is the only operator to offer this in Panama.
In addition, CWP provides customized telecom solutions to business and government institutions, including security systems, telemedicine, teleradiology, telemetry, telemammography, emergency services, educational systems. These are highly sophisticated solutions, where telecoms networks can be used to significantly upgrade Government services, like healthcare, or the operation of a business. CWP also manages the five undersea fibre optic cables that land today in Panama connecting the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Americas. Through these cables, CWP provides a top quality, fully redundant network that offers unsurpassed national and international connectivity for Panama and several countries throughout the Americas.
For CWP, success in business must go hand in hand with strong societal values, and for this reason it is committed to the objectives of the UN´s Global Compact. CWP has focused on being a good corporate citizen and understanding the needs of the Panamanian society. CWP conducts its business with honesty, transparency and respect for its customers, partners, employees, the environment and the community in general. When reviewing its corporate actions, CWP is proud to be among the largest corporate contributors to Panama´s education, sports, culture, poverty.
CWP is also strongly committed to supporting the individual development of its employees. CWP’s greatest assets are its people and the company is committed to providing excellent working conditions.
Many business magazines and consulting firms have recognized CWP as a model of Panamanian pride and business excellence. Recent surveys and studies acknowledging this include:
• Consulting firm Unimer conducted a study which indicated CWP was second only to the Panama Canal Authority for the best corporate image
• Research by Dichter & Neira and Globescan, market research firms, ranked CWP as the leading company in Panama for Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives
• Research by SUMMA, a Central American business magazine, highlighted CWP as one of the most admired companies in the region;
• Estrategia & Negocios, a Central American business magazine, ranked CWP No. 1 on its Best Companies to work for in Central America
• Mercados & Tendencias, a Central American business magazine, in a survey tracking the most recognized and preferred brands and companies in the region, placed CWP as the leader in Panama and occupying a leading position in the Central American region.
For its employee work environment, CWP has been recognized for two consecutive years (2009-2010) by the prestigious Gallup Research group with a “Great Work Place Award”, one of only two Latin American firms to receive this award. Gallup’s research cover more than one million work force groups in 150 countries.
Statement from CWP’s Union Secretary
As a testimony of the excellent working conditions in CWP, the Union Secretary of the Company Denia de Powell commented on December 11, 2010:
“The Cable & Wireless Panama Union maintains a very positive, constructive and vigilant relationship with the company; working together to achieve common objectives and continue to position it as the leader in Panama. We work on a scheme of open communication and transparent company-union relationship where we ventilate our plans, objectives and goals. We have also concluded the signature of a collective bargaining agreement in a friendly environment, where our employees and the company succeeded in framing the benefits and responsibilities with satisfactory results for both parties. Our workforce is committed to the present and the future of CWP always giving the extra mile to ensure that as shareholders of the company, we can achieve the best results because of our hard work and daily commitment.”