Berkel: Positive response to new Chippie service

Oranjestad- The customer base in St. Eustatius, has positively responded to the new UTS/Chippie service which went live on December 1, 2016. According to Gerald Berkel, speaking to the BES-Reporter this morning, this is due to the fact that customers on Statia are already quite accustomed to Chippie service. Berkel says that his company so far has provided about 1200 new SIM-cards with a 319-number, of which 90% have actually been activated. Asked about complaints of inter-connectivity between the new 319-numbers, landlines and 318-mobile numbers, Berkel said that initially there have been some problems but, contrary to some reports, customers with a 319-numer are now able to dial all landlines as well as mobile numbers starting with 318, without any problem whatsoever. Berkel says that subscribers with the new 319-numbers will continue to enjoy the free LTE-data service now offered to subscribers, until the official launch of the new Chippie service on December 20th, 2016. According to Berkel after that it will be possible for subscribers to have a post-paid contract with data-bundles and free minutes, against costs which can be compared to what UTS/Chippie offers on other islands. Of course customers can also choose to keep using the pre-paid service. DP councilman Koos Sneek recently raised questions about the viability of local telecom provider Eutel after the establishment of the UTS/Chippie service on Statia. Sneek also seemed to question Berkel’s role as former lieutenant-governor in the process of the company’s establishment and acquisition of a new mobile concession. Berkel on the other hand stated by means of a letter to the press that he saw nothing wrong with the representation by his company of UTS/Chippie. Berkel said that customers in Statia also have a right to choose. “The community of Statia deserves, just like any other, the right to choose. And at least with regard to mobile service now they have that choice. I think this is a moment Statians at home and abroad should be proud that as a small economy our people, like all others, will have the right to choose”, according to GEM-enterprises director Gerold Berkel.

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