My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: January 2012

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Digicel to shut down CLARO's Voice Network in HSDPA+ Push - The Louisiana Purchase of Spectrum


Digicel Group as of March 1 2012AD, will be shutting down CLARO Jamaica’s Voice Network as noted in the article “Digicel to shut down Claro Jamaica” published Friday January 13, 2012 by The Jamaica Gleaner and “Digicel to shut down Claro network”, published Friday, January 13, 2012 By Camilo Thame Business Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.


Digicel Group’s official Press Release entitled “JAMAICA TO BENEFIT FROM DIGICEL ACQUISITION OF CLARO” makes it no less easy to bear, as the benefits of a benevolent monopoly are not worth the loss of competition in the Telecom Industry in Jamaica. Effectively the deal is a Louisiana Purchase of Spectrum for Telecom Provider Digicel, as they have gotten off soft and easy from the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation).

The FTC (Fair Trading Commission) is seeing the Deal as anti-competitive and not in the Jamaican Telecom Industry and customer’s best interest with the issue now before the Jamaica Supreme Court as stated in the article “Digicel, LIME stake out positions on FTC challengePublished Sunday January 8, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Kelroy’s Geezam blog article entitled “Claro Jamaica to get the Axe from Digicel come March 1st” made much of the dissolution of the previous agreement hammered out by then Prime Minister Bruce Golding for Digicel Group to continue the buildout of CLARO Jamaica’s GSM Voice and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) Network as noted in the Geezam blog article “CLARO’s Freeness ends 5th January 2012 – Digicel’s Bigger, Better with Data and Cloud”.

This was the conditions set along with the promise of a new Telecoms Regulator specifically tailored to the needs of the Telecoms Industry in Jamaica as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “New Telecom Act Coming for Jamaica – Providers surprised with their Own Regulator” and my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers get their own Regulator - GOJ says Telecoms For Your Eyes Only”.

Obviously the 517,000 CLARO customers are to become targets of both Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME in a JA$1.5 billion promotional credit and SIM Card swap bid to acquire them as stated in the article “Fight for Claro customers”, published Sunday, January 15, 2012, The Jamaica Observer and “The value of Claro talkers: J$1.5bPublished Wednesday January 18, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

JA$2000 with a replacement SIM Card from Telecom Provider Digicel may be enough to sway some people to switch to “The Bigger Better Network” but Telecom Provider LIME full-service offerings make the JA$1000 with a replacement SIM Card seem more of an invitation than a outright bribe.

Ironic as both Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME are separately building out their own Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Networks, thus one would have though this extravagance a bit much for Voice Calling Network as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog” and  “Digicel's US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMax 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown”.

This when in fact Data, not Voice is slowly becoming the new bread-and-butter of Telecoms as concluded in my Geezam blog article entitled “CLARO’s Freeness ends 5th January 2012 – Digicel’s Bigger, Better with Data and Cloud”.

Putting aside the dishonesty of JLP Leader Andrew Holness in not informing Jamaica of his decision to reverse then Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s decision despite his explanation in the article  Holness defends reversing two-network decision in Digicel/Claro deal”, published Saturday, January 14, 2012, The Jamaica Observer, the fallout of this change makes for rather ghastly reading:

  • Three hundred and fifty (350) CLARO employees made redundant with immediate effect with four (4) weeks severance pay. Some rehired for a short space to complete the transition then laid off later
  • Call rates to Telecom Provider LIME to be reduced by JA$3.50 peak and JA$2.00 off peak from previous rates to JA$14.00 peak and JA$13.00 off peak as per Digicel’s Select Tariffs & Rates
  • Telecom Provider Digicel is to shut down CLARO Voice network by March 1 2012AD but use the spectrum and HSDPA Licenses to rapidly ramp up towards HSDPA+ and eventually LTE (Long Term Evolution) by 2013AD.

Clearly though, the two-Network scenario as proposed by Prime Minister Bruce Golding was proving to be too heavy a set of weights to lift as surmised in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Jamaica’s Alternative Energy Future – Increased Electricity Bills and Energy Sector Opportunities collide”.

With this newly revised deal, Telecom Provider Digicel gets access to CLARO’s Spectrum and 3G Licenses with which they can upgrade to HSDPA+ Release 7 with of up to 42MBps best effort speeds, the next step to achieving LTE (Long Term Evolution) a Telecom Network Protocol capable of 1GBps speeds best effort.

And with the FTC (Fair Trading Commission) challenging the deal, this will be in the news dogging Telecom Provider Digicel all the way to London Olympics 2012AD….

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apple iPhone 4S Taking a bite out of Christmas 2011AD Android Sales - Google Android Fragmentation is Avril Lavange Complicated


With the increasing popularity of the Apple iPhone 4S thanks to Siri Voice Assistant and a much improved iOS, it is no surprise that they are taking away Blackberry and Android customers according to CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) statistics in the article “iPhone 4S wooing lots of Android, BlackBerry users”, published January 24, 2012 5:44 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News.

CIRP’s Survey was based on an initial list of six thousand three hundred and sixteen (6,316) responses which was condensed and distilled down to three hundred and sixty five (365) respondents who specifically purchase an Apple iPhone 4S in October, November, or December of 2011AD.

The stats are telling for the Christmas 2011AD period:

  • 50% of the BlackBerry upgraded to the Apple iPhone 4S
  • 39% from an Google Android OS smartphone
  • 10% percent from a Palm device.
  • 21% are coming form feature phones or are new smartphone buyers

The statistics among the Apple iPhone owners reveals more about the mindset of the typical Apple-lover:

  • 89% percent of the iPhone owners surveyed own an Apple iPhone 4S
  • 43% percent of all iPhone 4S buyers are upgrades from older Apple iPhone models.
  • 42% percent of iPhone 4S buyers broke an existing contract to get the Apple iPhone 4S
  • 21% percent of Apple iPhone 4S buyers opted for the 64GB edition.

So this backs up the statistics of Nielsen as laid out in the following article:


In these articles, Nielsen posits that the Apple iPhone 4S running on iOS took away sales from Google Android OS as indicated in the below graph and stats:

  • Apple iOS marketshare in the Fourth Quarter of 2011AD moved from 25.1% October 2011AD to 44.5% percent by December 2011AD, a significant increase of 19.4%
  • Google Android’s market share, in the Fourth Quarter of 2011AD fell from 61.6% October 2011AD to 46.9% percent by December 2011AD, a significant drop of 14.7%


Right now things just got Avril Lavinge Complicated for Google Android, whose loss to Apple can only be blamed on Fragmentation issues within Google Android OS that have long dogged the platform as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone and Hardware Quality - The Count of Monte Cristo Hard Knock Life”.



This fragmentation issue and the problems it creates has even reached the where an otherwise excellent OS often ported on sub-par hardware [read “less durable”]  earning the ire of CNET News Editor Molly Wood in her rant entitled “Dear android: This is you last chance”, published October 14, 2011 4:43 PM PDT by Molly Wood, CNET News.

Truly the Apple iPhone 4S has been a success greater than could have been anticipated, despite not being the much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 as suggested in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S is a hit and the Apple iPod may get an upgrade - Steve Jobs Opus Major”. Meanwhile the Apple iPhone 4GS beckons as predicted in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S to debut in China and Caribbean on Friday January 13 2012 - LIME gives Jamaica the Best of Both Worlds”.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apple iPad 3 Launch on March 2012 - Amazon Kindle Fire is a Sweet Dream but a Beautiful Nightmare for Apple

With an Apple Event imminent on the horizon this end of January 2012AD that may have something to do with Books, publishing and possibly College students (free books maybe!?) as noted in the article “This Month’s Apple Event To Focus On Publishing And iBooks” by Monday, January 2nd, 2012 by Alexia Tsotsis , TechCrunch, it’s time to turn our attention yet again to any possible new products coming out of the Cupertino think-tank masquerading as a company named Apple Inc.

Apple can safely be said to have had yet another good year, albeit they have not made their financials public as yet. Why? The rumour mill is already grinding. With the CES (Computer Electronics Show) and my workplace ACS-Xerox ramping down the Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, now is a good time as any to reflect on what these various source are prognosticating and make sense of it all.

BloomBerg, the most credible of news source online (I hope!!) declared based on Asian Manufacturing sources (who exactly?!) that Apple is planning a March 2012AD Launch month for the Apple iPad 3 as noted in the article Apple iPad 3 may get March release date”, 4G, published by Larry Dignan January 13, 2012 1:44 PM PST, CNET News.

The Apple iPad is said to be sporting:

1.      Support for LTE (Long Term Evolution)
2.      Siri Voice Assistant
3.      Retina Display Screen as suggested by Tiawanese blog DigiTimes in the article “iPad 3 screen production ramping up strongly”, report says by Josh Lowensohn January 17, 2012 9:54 AM PST, CNET News.
4.      Quad-Core A6 Processor, Apple’s answer to Nvidia Tegra 3 aka “Ka-lel” as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Nvidia and the Quad-Core Kal-El CPU – Android leaves A5 Dual-Core Processor in the Dust
5.      12 Megapixel camera, if my blog article entitled “Sharp develops world's thinnest 12.1 Megapixel Camera” is to be believed.

This is now corroborated by Japanese Apple blog Macotakara which based on similar Asian Manufacturing Sources (Disgruntled Foxconn workers??) states that there will also be a February 2012AD event to introduce the Apple iPad 3 with the above same specs and then a March 2012AD Launch.

Personally, I would be even more surprised if they decided to launch the Apple iPad 3 in the Caribbean in much the same way the Apple iPhone 4S is getting the royal Treatment by Telecom Provider LIME as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S to debut in China and Caribbean on Friday January 13 2012 - LIME gives Jamaica the Best of Both Worlds”.

Apple definitely needs to come with a winner, as the Apple iPad took a hit from the Amazon Kindle Fire as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Amazon sells 5.5 million Kindle Fires in Fourth Quarter 2012 – Apple iPad sales drop and plans January Press Event”.

If the trend as noted in my article continues for the rest of the year, Apple may have no choice but to debut a 7”Tablet as well as their 10” flagship Tablet. The 10” spec laden Apple iPad albeit a platform for their Apple Apps Store may not be able to compete on pricing with the more nimble Amazon Kindle Fire and the conveniences of Couch-shopping.

But what of the Apple iPhone 5, which I suspect is really the Apple 4GS with LTE and HSDPA+ Release 7 Support? Also what fate awaits the Apple iPod Classic? Will that get Siri Voice Assistant and Apple iCloud support as suggested in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S is a hit and the Apple iPod may get an upgrade - Steve Jobs Opus Major” and Geezam blog article entitled “The Music Industry and the Cloud – Streaming Radio Nirvana”.

Also,  will the Apple iPad eventually come officially to Telecom Provider LIME, just like the Apple iPhone 4S as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S to debut in China and Caribbean on Friday January 13 2012 - LIME gives Jamaica the Best of Both Worlds”?





Answers may be forthcoming on this first of Apple Events slated for Thursday January 19th 2012 beginning at 10 a.m. EST (7 a.m. PST) as stated in the article Apple event preview: Tools to bolster in-school iPad use”, published January 18, 2012, 6:00am PT by Darrell Etherington, Gigaom with further answers and details revealed in subsequent February and March 2012AD Events in this Apple’s Sweet Dream and a Beautiful Nightmare …..so stay tuned to my blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Apple iPhone 4S to debut in China and Caribbean on Friday January 13 2012 - LIME gives Jamaica the Best of Both Worlds


Jamaica has been mentioned in an Apple Press release for the Apple iPhone 4S, which is coming to our faire isle Jamaica as well as other Caribbean islands – and the People’s Republic of China as stated in Kelroy’s Geezam blog article entitled “iPhone 4S Officially Invades Caribbean on January 13”.  A really big deal for an island of our size to be even mentioned in an Apple Press Release!!

At this point it’s good to point out that Kelroy, admin for the Geezam blog, was one of the first in the tech Blogging world to mention the coming of the Apple iPhone 4 to Jamaica on Telecom Provider LIME Network at LIME’s Happy Hour at their Corporate Headquarters July 14th 2012AD in the Geezam blog article entitled “iPhone 4 lands in Jamaica on June 14th courtesy of LIME”. For those who favour more official news, the Apple Press Release is here: “iPhone 4S Arrives in China on January 13”, published 4 January 2012, Apple Press Release.

Looks like the Apple iPhone 4S which made its debut on Tuesday October 4th 2011AD with Pre-orders for the Apple iPhone 4S on Friday October 7th 2011AD and the rabid line standing on Friday October 14th 2011AD, as reported in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S is a hit and the Apple iPod may get an upgrade - Steve Jobs Opus Major” is now in Jamaica under the aegis of Telecom Provider LIME yet again.

Kelroy’s article is a crib of the Apple Press Release mentions it thus, quote: “Beginning Friday, January 13, iPhone 4S will be available in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guam, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Uganda.”. No mention of Telecom Provider LIME, so off to Google I went a-searching!

Telecom Provider LIME it appears, will be carrying the Apple iPhone 4S, albeit they are yet to make a Public Announcement in any of our local Daily Newspapers. Oddly enough, there is a placement on their website mentioning the fact that the Apple iPhone 4S is indeed coming to Jamaica as per the article LIME Apple iPhone 4S Available January 13”, viewed January 11 2012, Time4Lime.

It also received cursory treatment in the Dominica News Online in the articleApple to release iPhone 4s in Dominica next week”, published Friday, January 6th, 2012 at 12:04 PM, Dominica News Online. Again no official statement from Telecom Provider LIME, making you realize that they are not quite feeling the “magic” of the Apple iPhone 4S.

Back then, the previous launch of the Apple iPhone 4 on Tuesday June 14th 2011AD was well publicized and ended up getting the full Press Court analysis in my blog article entitled “LIME and the Apple iPhone 4 - The Young and the Restless Gone in Sixty Seconds”.

Apparently the low key response to the splash made by Telecom Provider LIME for the smartphone that defined smartphones despite the Media Personalities and Dancehall Artiste on hand recorded in Happy Hour faces in Geezam blog article entitled “Photos: LIME Jamaica iPhone 4 Launch and hAPPy Hour has dampened Telecom Provider LIME’s pocket books as well as their demeanour.

Jamaicans it seems are not so interested in having smartphones, despite the competitive pricing arguments for Wireless 3G Data as noted in Ryan’s Geezam blog article entitled “LIME, The iPhone 4 And The Death Of The Blackberry”, as the Blackberry is still king here.

Cheaper parts to service problems which are few and far between with the phone that is not a true smartphone but has stellar hardware as note in my Geezam blog article entitled “Android smartphones may be king in 2015AD, but RIM Blackberry quality shines” make the Blackberry No. 1 in Jamaica, despite RIM (Research in Motion) facing problems worldwide with declining sales and the popularity of Google Android smartphones, also marketed heavily by Telecom Provider LIME.

Until the issue of cheaper parts to repair smartphones is addressed, best solved via partnerships between Smartphone instrument suppliers, Telecom Provider LIME and local Mobile Phone repair people (I call them “phone unlockers”) and Apple’s iMessage platform partners with RIM Blackberry Messenger to standardize Cross-Platform messaging a reality as suggested in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S and Apple iMessage - Timeline for Standardization of Instant Messaging  the Apple iPhone will still be seen as an expensive alternative to the Blackberry.

The Apple iPhone does indeed also shine in terms of its hardware durability as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone and Hardware Quality - The Count of Monte Cristo Hard Knock Life” the lower cost for spare parts to repair such a large cracked screen, coupled with the exclusivity of the repairs world as it relates to Apple products in general (ever tried fixing a MacBook hardware yourself?) helps to scare off most Jamaicans from taking a bite of the Apple.

But all may not be lost for the Apple iPhone 4S and the Android smartphone clan being successful in Jamaica.

Wi-Fi dongles on offer from both Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME as noted in Shonari’s Geezam blog article entitled “MiFi Hits Cayman thanks to Digicel and LIME” and Kelroy’s Geezam blog article entitled “LIME to offer Personal Mobile Internet Hot-spot – MiFi” make those shy of Data Plans and loving the video Streaming on a Apple iPhone 4 more inclined towards purchasing one. 

This a follow-on of Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider Digicel’s Jamaican and Caribbean wide upgrade of their respective Wireless Broadband Networks to HSDPA+ Release 7 as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog” and  Digicel's US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMax 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown”.

Also, thanks to the guinea pig testing of FTTH (Fiber To the House) in the upscale communities of Rhyne Park Community in St. James and Morris Meadows community located in St. Catherine, Telecom Provider LIME may have to market any additional ADSL capacity not taken up via subscribers to the LIME Flip Top Promotion as backhaul for Fast Food Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and shopping malls and plazas in what could be appropriately named Mall Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) as described in my blog article entitledFast Food Wi-Fi for LIME's ADSL Broadband when FTTH goes Mainstream - Mother's and KFC to Supersize Me with Wi-Fi

Throw in the main attraction of the Apple iPhone, that being apps in all their glory, would now be available to Jamaicans as not only are a lot of apps free and easy to find thanks to the trusty guide as noted in the Geezam blog article entitled ‘Defying The Apple Gods: Jamaica and The App Store”.

Scotia Bank’s latest product Visa Debit Cards that can both send and receive cash means that paid app purchases are now possible as per the article “Scotia replacing bank card with Visa debit”, published Sunday  September 18, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner make the Apple iPhone even more attractive.

With Visa Debit Cards popularity on the rise as noted in the spike in its uptake primarily for online purchases article “Scotia Visa spurs debit card usage online”, published Sunday January 8, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner, the Apple iPhone 4S is poised for a renaissance on Friday January 13th 2012AD, as this unlucky number may be prove to be the start of as very lucky year for the Apple iPhone 4S in Jamaica.

Jamaicans will get to experience the Best of Both Worlds, Siri Voice Assistant and all, just in time for the Apple iPhone 4GS…..not the Apple iPhone 5 as I had prognosticate in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4S is a hit and the Apple iPod may get an upgrade - Steve Jobs Opus Major”.

This in another article to be continued…….as Friday January 13th 2012AD approaches!!!