My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel's US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMax 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Digicel's US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMax 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown

For the good are always merry
Save by an evil chance
And the merry love the fiddle
And the merry love to dance

W. B. Yeates The Fiddler of Dooney

On Friday May 20th 2011AD, Digicel CEO Mark Linehan, in his attack on Telecom Provider LIME  claim with regards to being the first to launch 4G in the Caribbean as chronicled in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog”, revealed what I had long suspected based on information from Contractors: Telecoms Provider Digicel is ALSO going 4G in the Caribbean, specifically HSDPA+ Release 7 and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e) for US$85 million pieces of silver.

For those statistics nerds such as yours truly keeping score in this heated pan-Caribbean war of words, that’s about US$5 million more than Telecom Provider LIME is spending on the Caribbean as noted in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog”.

Jamaica is the US$5 million? Tsk, Tsk, Tsk…..

In his letter to the editor of The Jamaica Observer, entitled “LIME not the first to launch 4G in Caribbean”, says Digicel, published Friday, May 20, 2011, The Jamaica Observer and The Jamaica Gleaner entitled “Digicel Takes Issue With LIME's 4G Claim”, published Friday May 20, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner respectively, Digicel CEO Mark Linehan completely trashed the notion that Telecom Provider LIME was the first in the Caribbean with 4G.

To paraphrase Joe Lawrence from Blossom (TV Series 1990–1995): “Whoa”!

And this just in the Jamaican Newspapers, folks! It is in most of the Dailies in the Caribbean! Ready for this newspaper Alphabet-soup:

1.      On a point of clarification”, published Friday, May 20th, 2011 By John Delves General Manager – Digicel OECS North, The Antigua Observer
2.      Digicel: We got there first!”, published May 20, 2011 12:05 pm AST, The Barbados Advocate
3.      Digicel Dispels LIME's Claim Regarding 4G”, published May 20, 2011 12:05 pm AST, Virgin Islands Platinum News
4.      Digicel Dominica responds to LIME’s 4G announcement”, published Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 4:25 pm by Richard Stanton, CEO Digicel Dominica, Dominica News

This IS official confirmation or the closest yet, if EVERY Telecoms Provider Digicel CEO from each island is speaking with the SAME common voice, word for word.

With a Seventh Day Adventist Slant, as my deceased SDA Princess and NCTVET Certified Cosmetologist girlfriend Audia Granston would probably note with her astute eagle eyes. This due to the reference at the end of the letter, further ribbing Telecom Provider LIME, quote: “There is a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk”!

SDA certified? Strange indeed!!

I of course would say, “Like Duh-uh”.

I have “friends” from Bermuda on my Facebook page that uses Digicel’s 3G+, their name for HSDPA+ Release 7. So this is well known.

What is News is the fact that Telecom Provider Digicel is best summarized below:

1.         Telecoms Provider Digicel is upgrading software and swapping out hardware in their 2G Network to HSDPA+ Release 7 offering to the rest of the Caribbean at a cost of approximately US$85 million

2.         It’s the same HSDPA+ Release 7 and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e)
3.         After Acquiring Telecom Provider CLARO, they will be rolling out HSDPA+ Release 7 in Jamaica

This is all good News and it helps to confirm what I had already known from Telecom Contractors close to the situation, who had been slated to travel to the Caribbean since the first Quarter of 2011AD to begin the upgrade work.

Specifically the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), Haiti and Barbados, effectively the Fast Five (2011) I had predicted to a bunch of Shurpower Generator Engineers back in 2009AD while driving to put generators on AutoStart!

According to my sources, they were being halted by a combination of travel document-related issues and the management of Telecoms Provider Digicel being rather slow on getting themselves organized.

Not to mention the Telecom Equipment Supplier Ericsson also not being properly organized as it relates to getting the necessary logistics in place to facilitate the Contractors to do their work. Can’t move unless you have a package which includes:

1.      BQ (Bill of Quantities)
2.      Travel documents, including work Permits
3.      Location of the Node B that need upgrading and swapping out
4.      Location of the Ring Sites or Drop Nodes which must be upgraded first, being as they carry the entire islands traffic
5.      Travel and lodging arrangements for the work crews
6.      Storage, Equipment Security and transport of the Ericsson equipment to the site for each day’s work

The work teams consist of a minimum per Node B to be worked on:

1.      Two (2) Riggers
2.      Two (2) Electrician
3.      One (1) Generator Specialists
4.      Two (2) Installers

The work involves basically involves landing the Ericsson HSDPA+ Release 7 equipment on site, which includes:

1.      BTS (Base Transceiver Stations)
2.      RBS (Radio Base Station) including cabinets, Microwave Radios, Microwave Coaxial Cables and ODU (Out door Unit) and Microwave Antennas
3.      GSM and HSDPA+ Release 7 Cabinets and Card Packs
4.      HSDPA+ BBU (Base Band Unit), RRU (Remote Receiver Unit)
5.      Electrical Fittings and Grounding work and Grounding tests

They then have to neatly disconnect (emphasis on that!) the old BTS and RBS, do SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) tests on the copper waveguides and connect the new equipment. Alternately, they may have the riggers just replace everything on the tower, which I considerably more work and considerably more expense.

Though unlikely, it may also be in the cards for the Installers, as the new BBU’s, RRU’s and even the RBS Microwave Radios may use Fiber Optic Waveguides instead of Copper Based Waveguides.

These are easier to install, have very wide bandwidth and are less attractive for thieves to steal. Very likely, I might add, as Telecoms Provider Digicel Node B’s Caribbean-wide are nearly ten (10) years old and are overdue for replacement.

And the HSDPA+ Release 7 replacement is 4G as per the blessing of the telecoms Pope, ITU (International Telecommunications Union)the Telecoms arm of the UN (United Nations) as argued in the tail-end of in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog”!

Ditto too for the Drop Nodes, except it has to be done a lot faster, as the work window is minimum two (2) hours! Once finished, everything has to come back online with the new equiptment.

Otherwise a revert [return to previous settings] is in the cards for the Installers, who must reinstall the previously working systems.

Effectively, a Engineering take on the current ongoing swap of CLARO Jamaica for Digicel Honduras and Digicel El Salvador between America Movil and Digicel Group as stated in my blog article entitled Digicel buys CLARO Jamaica - Jumanji Exchange is no Robbery.

This is a complete upgrade of software and swap of hardware for Ericsson is being undertaken by Telecom Provider Digicel as they ramp up to take on Telecom Provider LIME 4G.

While I will not get into the cat fight, it remains to be seen if Telecoms Provider Digicel will dismantle the LTE (Long term Evolution) Network that Telecoms Provider CLARO had begun building, first with a MSC (Mobile Switching Center) in Duncans, Trelawny for LTE as noted in my blog article entitled “CLARO vs FLOW - Cats and Dogs The Revenge of Kitty Galore”.

Or maybe not!! Maybe not!!

Good to note that HSDPA+ Release 7, which is a bridging technology capable of speeds of up to 42MBps Best Effort, is a bridging Technology that can be software upgraded to LTE and even LTE Advanced.

And since the construction had already started, it would merely be a transfer of Ericsson’s contract from America Movilthe parent company of CLARO Jamaica to Telecoms Provider Digicel. They would then continue the build-out of the Duncans MSC after they had wound up the acquisition in June 2011. No need to waste all that valuable hardware!

Thus my predictions as it relates to the acquisition as noted in my blog article entitled “CLARO vs FLOW - Cats and Dogs The Revenge of Kitty Galore” may be spot on indeed, with only Customer Care Executives losing their work due to the consolidation of Telecoms Provider CLARO and Telecoms Provider Digicel stores located side-by-side!!

So my dream of a Telecoms Provider Digicel LTE Network acquired from their finalized purchased of  Telecoms Provider CLARO powered by the Backhaul being jointly built out by Telecom Provider LIME and Triple Play Provider FLOW as described in my blog article entitled “JRC, Scotts Pass and Senator Mike Henry – Molly Wood Keeping up with the Kardashians” may be coming to pass after all.

Guess a Google ChromeBook is also definitely in my future, seeing as how all these Telecom Provider upgrades tie into a more reliable Broadband Internet Access to support Digicel’s Tier III Certified Cloud Backup Service as stated in my blog article entitled “Digicel Cloud Backup Service and future Cloud-Based Services - V.S Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas”.

Not quite the five 9’s i.e. 99.999% uptime, but we’re getting there!!

Not to mention using Dynamic or Rolling Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.16n) while travelling on the refurbished JRC (Jamaica Railway Corporation) Passenger Train Service as described in my blog article entitled “JRC, Scotts Pass and Senator Mike Henry – Molly Wood Keeping up with the Kardashians”!

The various Telecoms Provider’s Cloud Services are coming as I had opined in my Geezam Blog article entitled “Digicel’s Cloud Backup Services – A Deep Analysis”. This as Telecoms Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME begin to upgrade their 2G Network to 4G over the next eighteen (18) months, Fast Five (2011) and Wizards of Waverly Place (TV Series 2007) Style!


Stay tuned for Telecoms Provider Digicel official Launch Party announcement on their Jamaica and Caribbean 4G Plans!!
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