The small British Island of Jersey is “open for business” announced the managing director of Global Enterprise at Jersey Telecom during a presentation at the Telecom Council’s TC3 event on Thursday.
The tiny island off the coast of France boasts a population of just 90,000, but its size makes it a perfect telco tested said the firm’s Tim Ringsdore.
Jersey, which has long been known as a center for global wealth management and an offshore banking hub is trying to attract new businesses to its shores in order to continue its impressive GDP growth.
“We’re creating an ecosystem here,” said Ringsdore, noting that the small population, proximity to Europe and flexible regulations made the island an ideal testbed allowing firms to see what customer offerings would or would not work. “We give companies the opportunity to build a real time business case,” Ringsdore said, explaining that as a small telco, Jersey Telecom had to remain both aggressive and competive in terms of partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. “We’re a visionary telco, we can’t afford to stay still,” he explained, adding that the firm was probably the “smallest tier one you’ll ever hear of.”
The carrier already serves 18 of the top banks in Jersey and has the status of a trusted brand on an island with the sixth highest GDP in the world.
“There’s a lot of disposable income in Jersey,” said Ringsdore noting that the carrier couldn’t get enough iPads and iPhones from Apple to satiate massive customer demand.
Ringsdore said Jersey Telecom’s doors were always open to innovative businesses keen to partner up and test their products, claiming it was far easier to get a foot in the door at JT compared with the larger carriers like Vodafone or BT. As an example, the executive told the audience his firm had underwritten the costs of a text messaging startup for a million pounds, only to be repaid within nine months. “We’re a big text messaging hosting hub,” he noted, claiming to be making money hand over fist from what had started as an experimental partnership project.
“We don’t want to just survive, we want to grow,” he told the audience of entrepreneurs, reminding them that the island had a very low tax environment with no corporate or capital gains tax and a very cooperative government. “If we have to change the laws and regulations, it can be done. There’s always a way,” Ringsdore said, noting that he had the governor’s phone number.
Ringsdore also outlined Jersey Telecom’s vision for what he called “Gigabit Isles” and specifically “Gigabit Jersey” a major development which would bring fiber to the home of every person in Jersey with the next three to five years. “We can do it because we’re a really small island,” said Ringsdore, explaining that his firm was currently pulling up all the copper and laying down fiber in its place. This, he said, was costing around 40-50 million pounds, but was “absolutely critical to the future,” because of the bandwidth explosion of late.
“The lab is the island,” Ringsdore concluded.