The history of Sure in the Falkland Islands can be traced back to the first telephone lines in the islands, installed in 1880.
The early years of Falkland Islands communications tell of hardship and struggle. Correspondence from West Falklands to Stanley could take up to three months as it was carried by horseback and sailing vessels.
The first telephones were installed by the Falkland Islands Company in 1880 by Mr Boyson, the manager at the time. The Falkland Islands Government were slow to see the advantages of telephones and it was not until February 1897 that a telephone was installed at Cape Pembroke Lighthouse and connected to the Police Station to improve the response time to rescue vessels damaged whilst rounding Cape Horn.
By 1907 telephone lines were being erected to all the main settlements outside of Stanley, telephones were also installed at this time into business buildings and Government Departments. The Falkland Islands Police were responsible for the installation and maintenance of the lines until 1927. In 1911, Marconi built a 5 kilowatt wireless telegraphy station, allowing telegrams to be sent to Montevideo in Uruguay.
The biggest communication change for the "Camp" (the name given to the area outside of Stanley's boundaries) occurred in 1950, when the telephone was replaced by radio telephone (although the camp telephone network remained in operation until 1982). All business, medical problems and education correspondence were communicated over radio telephone.
In October 1974, Cable & Wireless became responsible for the colony's external telecommunications. Direct calls could be booked to the UK and South American mainland. After the 1982 conflict, the MOD and Cable & Wireless erected an earth station to the east side of what is now the main offices car park. This station allowed for the first time direct dialling through Autelca card phones. In 1989, Cable & Wireless won the contract to provide domestic as well as an international telephone service for the Falkland Islands.
Communication on the Islands has changed significantly since then with the introduction of national, international and mobile telephone service and internet service. In 2006 broadband was successfully implemented in Stanley and Mount Pleasant Complex, with 2008/09 seeing the service rolled out across the Islands.
High quality satellite links provide a clear and fast connection with the rest of the World. Roaming facilities are also available on a number of mobile networks, which enable calls and text messaging between agreed networks across the world.
Cable & Wireless continued to invest in the network infrastructure on the Falkland Islands and the international links, enabling a robust and high quality communications services for both residential and business customers. During 2008/09 the company invested 1.5 million pounds in developing a new Camp network which is able to provide broadband services to anywhere on the Islands, including remote islands.
In late 2011 the mobile network was vastly extended around the Islands, increasing coverage to include large parts of Camp including Fox Bay and Port Howard on West Falklands. August 2012 saw the mobile network data enabled offering customers the ability to send and receive picture and video messages and access the internet on their mobile phones for the first time.
In April 2013, we were acquired by the Batelco Group, a major communications company with direct and indirect investments across 14 jurisdictions including the Middle East and North Africa.
To underpin these important changes to our business, with effect from 15th July 2013 we changed our name from Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd to Sure South Atlantic Ltd. Sure International is the corporate division of the business, enabling companies that operate in the islands to reliably and efficiently connect and transact with their global partners.
As of 1 January 2017, Sure's operations in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man and in the South Atlantic and Diego Garcia started to be managed as one group, headquartered in Guernsey. Ian Kelly, who was CEO of Sure's South Atlantic and Diego Garcia operations for the previous three years, and has been a Batelco Group Executive since 2007, was appointed CEO of the expanded group.
This marks the start of an exciting new phase for our business, as we join an international organisation which is committed to delivering value and unsurpassed customer service.
Serving the communities where Sure operates is at the heart of the company’s approach and Sure is committed to behaving in an ethical and socially responsible manner.
Our Owners - The Batelco Group
Listed on the Bahrain Bourse and with a history dating back 150 years, Batelco Group provides Sure with a stable and secure foundation from which to continue making major investments in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and in the South Atlantic and Diego Garcia.
Batelco Group’s values align closely with our own at Sure, focusing on the delivery of innovation, value and excellent customer service, making Batelco and Sure, ideal communications partners.
At the end of 2017, Batelco had over 9.4 million customers, a number which will have increased considerably following the acquisition of Sure and several other telcos in April 2013.
For the full year 2017, Batelco Group reported Revenue of BD379.4M (GBP730.2M) and Operating Profit of BD66.4M (GBP127.7M).