My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Of ATC Strikes and Digicel 3G+ Upgrades - Pushing Tin in Eerie, Indiana

Friday, May 27, 2011

Of ATC Strikes and Digicel 3G+ Upgrades - Pushing Tin in Eerie, Indiana

Every body preserves in its state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line, except in so far as it is compelled to change that state by impressed forces.

Isaac Newton, Principia, (First Law of Motion)

Telecom Provider Digicel has now officially declared that they are going HSDPA+ Release 7 and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e) in Jamaica as well as in the wider Caribbean as stated in the article “Digicel Rolling Out 3G+ Networks”, published Wednesday May 25, 2011, by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

No mention of cost, save that of Telecom Provider Digicel expenditure on Jamaica, which saw them spend JA$2 billion on the deployment of WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e) Broadband Network.

This is clearly a response to Telecom Provider LIME’s declaration on Tuesday May 17th 2011AD, World Telecommunications and Information Society Day of a Caribbean-wide upgrade to HSDPA+ Release 7 as noted in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 Million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog”.

Competition. That is the force that is making usually silent Telecom Provider Digicel change direction and reveal to Jamaica and the world, their secret intention to go 4G. Telecom Provider LIME’s competing, and that can only mean trouble for Telecom Provider Digicel.

Especially as they are slated to debut the Apple iPhone 4 exclusively on their 3G Network as stated in the article “LIME launching iPhone 4 in Jamaica”, published Thursday, May 26, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Apparently Telecom Provider CLARO has lost the exclusive rights to market and sell the phone, possibly due to their lack of experience in selling the Apple iPhone 4 and their focus on selling cheap phones as stated in Kelroy’s Geezam Blog article entitled “LIME bringing iPhone 4 to Jamaica and the Caribbean”.

Looks like London Olympics 2012 fever is in the air, as this 4G upgrade is also an obvious precursor to streaming Media on smartphones by July 27th 2012AD. No word yet on the nature of Broadband Caps, which most likely may be increased to higher levels to compensate for the speed boost i.e. 5GB to 10GB.

This is of course assuming that the speed of the final upgraded network will be close to 42MBps Best Effort as expected of HSDPA+ Release 7 when fully provisioned with all T1’s. This as many speed grades exist in HSDPA+ Release 7 as listed below:

  1. HSDPA+ Release 7 QPSK 1.8MBps
  2. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 17.6MBps
  3. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 21.1MBps
  4. HSDPA+ Release 7 16-QAM 23.4MBps
  5. HSDPA+ Release 7 16-QAM 28.0MBps
  6. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 35.3MBps
  7. HSDPA+ Release 7 64-QAM 42.2MBps

So speeds anywhere between 17.6MBps to 42.2MBps, best effort, are quite possible!!

The cost gleaned from the article 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 indicate a minimum spend of US$85 million.

They are still yet to achieve full island-wide coverage according to their 4G Broadband Coverage Map. 

Thus my prediction from my blog article entitled “Digicel’s US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMaX 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown” of an upcoming announcement in the Media is now fulfilled.

To be fair, Telecom Provider Digicel had announced this since March 2011AD that they were making plans to fully integrate Telecom Provider CLARO’s 3G Platform as state in the article “Digicel working to integrate Claro, 3G”, published Tuesday, March 22, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Speculation as to whether or not the deal will go through as stated in my blog article entitled “AT&T-T-Mobile and Digicel-CLARO Comparisons - Alice Through the Looking Glass The Day After” has been put aside by this announcement, as it appears that Telecom Provider Digicel is confident that it will get the necessary regulatory approval.

This as the total customer base is counted as Postpaid Customers. Thanks to the lack of proper registration and very onerous and expensive Postpaid packages, probably only 20% of the two million plus (2,000,000+) subscribers on Telecom Provider Digicel, or four hundred thousand plus (400,000+), are Postpaid.

Added to Telecom Provider CLARO’s Postpaid Customer Base, it would hardly constitute a monopoly, as freedom exists for people to purchase phones, albeit pricing is a problem.

More than anything, this deal should highlight the urgent need for MNP (Mobile Number Portability), preferably via MRSI (Mandatory Registration of Subscriber Information) as stated in my blog article entitled “MRSI and MNP - Where the Spies Are”.

But with no details forthcoming since the much publicized swap between Telecom Provider Digicel, this is technically the first bit of official news about the swap since it shattered our world like an Earthquake on Friday March 11th 2011AD as stated in my blog article entitled “Digicel buys CLARO Jamaica - Jumanji Exchange is no Robbery”.

Coincidentally the day of the Apple iPad 2 Launch, I would like to note is called Apple iPad Day, was on Friday March 11th 2011AD as stated in my blog article entitled ‘Apple iPad 2 and PC future - Doomsday in the Battlefield” and my Geezam Blog entitled “Are we witnessing Laptop and PC Extinction?”.

Ditto too the Earthquake in Japan as stated in my Geezam Blog entitled “HP and Web OS – 2011 is the Year of the Linux on PC”. Eerie, Indiana (TV Series 1991–1992) indeed, as I am now becoming more and more convinced that Jamaica is indeed the center of weirdness in the world.

Meanwhile there is an ongoing strike by the Air Traffic Controllers for salary increases of 7%, improved work conditions and outstanding overtime payments owed since 2007AD as stated in the article “‘Charge them!’ - Passengers upset as strike causes airport delays”, published Tuesday, May 24, 2011 BY INGRID BROWN Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

This after being promised representational rights on par with those of the unionized workers who are a member of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, based on communication with State Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Senator Arthur Williams, only to have them dashed.

The strike expresses their frustration with a process that effectively plays to their advantage, as Air Traffic Controller Training is not quick or easy and is a job that is stressful and dangerous as the movie Pushing Tin (1999). The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) has not being training anyone and no reserves are left.

This leaves the ATC Managers being completely clueless and overwhelmed in the running of the Airports. Delays at both NMIA (Norman Manley International Airport) in Kingston and DSIA (Donald Sangster International Airport) in Montego Bay are natural, with tempers frayed as people misunderstand how badly underpaid ATC’s are in Jamaica for a job so stressful and demanding, with passengers lives literally hanging in the air.

To quote the JATCA (Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers' Association): “Senator Williams, in previous meetings held with the JATCA, had expressed that given our significance in the country's economic climate we would have been presented with fair opportunities to provide representation for our members at the negotiating table”.

This after the Supreme Court ruling on Sunday May 22nd 2011AD barring them from further strike action and ordering them to return to work as stated in the article, leading them to threaten Strike action as stated in the article “Air traffic controllers threaten strike”, published Saturday, May 21, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

President of the JATCA Kurt Solomon took the initiative along with his non-unionized compadres, defied the work order and so the strike began on Monday May 23rd 2011AD as stated in the article “Flights affected as Kingston air controller strike continues”, published Monday, May 23, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Today is now Friday May 27th 2011AD. The traditional fight between the old pirates [management] and the workers, bringing back memories of C&W Wage Negotiations….

This from Job Reclassification and subsequent IDT (Industrial Tribunal Ruling) between 1997AD and 2003AD at C&W that sealed the fate of C&W Employees and gave us significant Wage Increases and Retroactive Salary Packages. Protest songs such as “Bob Marley - Redemption Song” bring back more memories!

Stay tuned!

More Details on BOTH the ATC Strike Action and Telecom Provider Digicel purchase of Telecom Provider CLARO and their Caribbean-wide upgrade to 4G as they surface in the Media!
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