My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: LIME's 4G Experience Centers & Digicel's JA$8.99 One Rate Plan - Telecom Providers fear Municipal Wi-Fi SkyFall from Broadcasters DSO

Friday, March 9, 2012

LIME's 4G Experience Centers & Digicel's JA$8.99 One Rate Plan - Telecom Providers fear Municipal Wi-Fi SkyFall from Broadcasters DSO

 It would appear that the Big Telecoms Providers in Jamaica have finally, as we say in Jamaica Patios, “ketch dem Fraid” of  Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Providers Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1 Tech Services, both of which are owned by the Lee’s Family and Wayne Chen of Super Plus Fame,

This as Today, Telecoms Provider LIME has announce that they are going HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) Release 7 by Monday March 12th 2012AD as stated in the article “LIME offers 4G experience”, published  Friday March 9, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner and in the article LIME opens '4G' experience centres”, published Friday, March 09, 2012, The Jamaica Observer

For those following the now exciting developments in Telecoms, this is three (3) days after Digicel’s extended offer to migrate customers away from CLARO Jamaica ends on Friday March 9th 2012AD, which happens to be today. Interestingly enough, it is also ten (10) days since Telecom Provider Digicel announced their One Rate Calling Plan, for which I wrote a neat piece in my Geezam Blog entitled “Digicel Introduces One Rate Calling for $8.99 in Jamaica

According to Telecom Provider LIME’s rather artsy Press Release, no doubt the handiwork of LIME's Regional Vice-President, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Grace Silvera, quote: “Starting Monday, the company will be rolling out the red carpet for customers at select LIME locations across the island for them to be the first to experience the superior technology which is only available in the United States, Japan and some European nations. The enhanced services in what have been dubbed '4G Experience Zones' will be concentrated in key commercial and residential districts.”

Please note that this is the same Grace Silvera who was Red Stripe’s Head of marketing and the person who basically introduced the concept of Branding to Jamaica. Telecom Provider LIME finally acquired her services and nearly twenty five (25) years of expertise in Marketing and Branding.

Her last stint as the first International Marketing Director for Diageo-owned Red Stripe as stated in the accolades laid out in the article “Grace Silvera sweetens LIME”, published Thursday, January 13, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

Effectively, LIME will be doing what we Telecoms Technicians were told by the expatriate Telecoms Engineers from Huawei and Ericsson as an Open Sandbox Test within the selected areas:

  • New Kingston along Knutsford Boulevard
  • Carlton Crescent in Kingston
  • Half-Way Tree Road in Kingston
  • Portmore Mall in Portmore and those lucky enough to live near the Mall (shout out to the CSA at West Cal Center!!)
  • Fairview Mall in Montego Bay, St James

As Telecom Provider LIME has not announced that they have an LTE (Long Term Evolution) License, it must be the same HSDPA+ Release 7 Network that they had announce on Tuesday May 17th 2011AD, World Telecommunications and Information Society Day as referred to in my blog article entitled “LIME's US$80 million Caribbean HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Sonic the Hedgehog” .

The obvious clue can be seen in the list of compatible devices, which includes:

From the above list, whose specs you can Google, it becomes apparent that none of them support LTE (Long Term Evolution). Thus, it must be HSDPA+ Release 7 referred to above that had been slated to go live in eighteen (18) months, based on the article “LIME to create history – first to bring 4G mobile technology to the Caribbean, published Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 at 6:30 pm, Dominica News Online!

Clearly, Telecom Provider LIME has pushed up the timeframe, as that would have landed, counting from the announcement on Tuesday May 17th 2011AD by LIME Caribbean CEO David Shaw, on December 2012AD.

From the above proximity of the event mentioned above, one could easily make the mistake and conclude that this is in response to Telecom Provider Digicel. But it isn’t, trust me on this.

Telecom Provider Digicel’s 3G Network, which they acquired for the sole purpose of getting a hold of the spectrum and the 3G license as stated in my blog article entitled “Digicel to shut down CLARO's Voice Network in HSDPA+ Push - The Louisiana Purchase of Spectrum” is not all it cracked up to be.

Already on the Geezam blog, fellow blogger Horace in the article “Digicel’s Internet Bundle leaves a lot to be desired” pointed out the deficiencies in Telecom Provider Digicel’s offer of 3G service using bundles with Megabyte sizes that are unrealistic and do not reflect actual internet usage.

Apparently, they do not see CLARO’s 3G Internet as being on par to match those of their WiMaX 4G Service and may not wish to self-cannibalize, having spent some US$22 million on building out the WiMaX Network in 2010AD. Clearly, Telecom Provider Digicel is still testing out CLARO newly acquired 3G Networks with the intention to eventually go HSDPA+ Release 7.

Worse, they cannot go full HSDPA+ Release 7 as announced back in 2011AD as per my blog article entitled “Digicel's US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMax 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown”, which at best effort is capable of specs in the 42MBps best effort, requiring that they upgrade CLARO Jamaica’s IP RAN (IP Radio Access Network) powered mainly by Alcatel-Lucent Radios to a Fiber Optic Backhaul to handle the expected traffic increase.

An upgrade which had begun in 2009AD and should be completed by Telecom Provider Digicel if they are serious about LTE! And Telecom Provider Digicel is yet to finish the MSC (Mobile Switching Center) build-out in Duncans, Trelawny. Clearly any response from Telecom Provider Digicel would be foolhardy, making it obvious that Telecoms Provider Digicel is not the real reason for the upping of the upgrade schedule.

Clearly, it must be the other silent partner in the Wireless Broadband market, Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1- Tech Services Limited, which I had predicted would start silently expanding into Kingston and slowly and stealthily steal BOTH Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider Digicel customers as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Crouching LIME Huawei E586 Mi-Fi – Hidden Dekal Wireless Dragon

Even Telecom Provider Digicel’s recent JA$8.99 One Rate Calling Plan as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel Introduces One Rate Calling for $8.99 in Jamaica” is really a fear response to Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1- Tech Services Limited.

These Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Providers may be set to benefit from DSO (Digital Switch Over) which may soon be forced upon the Free-To-Air Broadcasters by Senator Phillip Paulwell in a meeting later this April 2012AD so as to relinquish their “squatting” on spectrum and so-called “White” Space Frequencies in the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) and VHF (Very High Frequency) range for NTSC Standard Free-To-Air Broadcasting.

This as explained in my blog article entitled “Broadcasting and Digital Switch Over - Back to the Future to compete with LIME TV”. A bonanza for FDI (Foreign Direct Investor) Telecoms Provider planning to come to Jamaica and in search of High Bandwidth and frequencies bands with good carry through concrete walls and steel!

But it spells doom for the established Telecoms Providers, who have the most to lose if their overpriced “4G”offerings are exposed as being really overpriced by this influx of low-cost Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Providers, being as most devices already have Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n).

Hence Telecom Provider LIME Open Sandbox test and even overt giveaways, a true indication of what they fear: the coming of Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks powered by Spectrum made available from DSO (Digital Switch Over).

A Skyfall (2012) for the Telecom Providers
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