My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Jamaican can access MNP and LNP by Monday June 1st 2015 – Windfall for Jamaican smartphone unlockers as Quad-Band smartphones and Carrier-Free SIM Cards Required

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Monday, May 18, 2015

How Jamaican can access MNP and LNP by Monday June 1st 2015 – Windfall for Jamaican smartphone unlockers as Quad-Band smartphones and Carrier-Free SIM Cards Required

“I have been asked by technical people to look at it, as I have mentioned I am disposed to it. We going to analyse it immediately to look at where we stand and the legal ramifications"

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell commenting on the issue of unlocked phones as the last barrier to the coming of MNP by Monday June 1st 2015

MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) are coming by Sunday May 31st 2015 as predicted in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell affirms MNP, LNP Coming May 31st 2015 - Why NPA TPPR, IXP Deadline and VoIP Registration herald MNP, LNP for NANP Number Ranges and Competition”.


This means that as of Monday June 1st 2015 customers of both Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME can port their phone numbers, be they Mobile, Fixed line or Landline numbers to another instruments on another Telecom Provider's Network.

However, there is a catch; the instrument you are transferring the phone number to has to able to work on that other Telecom Provider Network.

MNP and LNP by Monday June 1st 2015 – Unlocked smartphones the last Barrier to jumping Networks

For most Jamaicans, that other instrument may be the very same cellphone that they have, meaning they'll have to have the smartphone unlocked.

This is a barrier to the widespread adoption of Number Portability is of concern to the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell. He’s been championing MNP for quite awhile as expressed in the article “Jamaicans To Get Number Portability”, published Monday May 18, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.


To quote Minister Paulwell:  “I have been asked by technical people to look at it, as I have mentioned I am disposed to it. We going to analyse it immediately to look at where we stand and the legal ramifications.....it (unlocking cellphones) will enhance competition and we (Jamaica) should look to have it done, but my legal people are looking at it as we speak”.

But is necessary to unlock smartphones to facilitate Number Portability? Actually it is, but not quite the way you'd expect and in some cases it may not really be possible.

How Jamaican can use MNP – Quad-Band smartphones and Carrier-Free SIM Cards Required

Telecom Providers prefer their cellphones being locked to their network. This as it makes it less likely that a customer can buy a cellphone or a smartphone, the latest variant of mobile phones and decided to switch to another competing network simply by popping in a different SIM Card.


This represents a loss to the Telecom Provider as well as it results in the customer breaking their contract which provides a way for them to lock the customer in using their products and services.

But locked cellphones are a barrier to full LNP and MNP services being provided by the NPA (Number Portability Administrator), Porting Access B.V. of the Netherlands as announced on Friday March 13th 2015 as per my blog article entitled “Jamaica has selected Porting Access B.V. for NPA - How NPAS will provision a TPRR based CRDB from the Land of Windmills and Carrier-Free SIM Cards”. 

This as during the MNP and LNP Process as described in my blog article entitled “OUR issues TPPR for a Number Portability Administrator in Jamaica - How Number Portability will get us NANP's NPA and Third 4G Competitor”,  the phone number, not the instrument or the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) is ported to the New Telecom Provider Network.

This effectively means that the customer not only has to get a new SIM Card with the SAME phone number, but they'll also have to unlock their instrument as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Jamaica has selected Porting Access B.V. for NPA - How NPAS will provision a TPRR based CRDB from the Land of Windmills and Carrier-Free SIM Cards”.  

Of this Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell is clearly well aware, quote: “We are porting numbers and not instruments. The instrument will remain based on the contract you have with the provider because there are restrictions. A lot of instruments are subsidised so we have to recognise those agreements”.  

The Advantages of having a Quad-Band smartphone – Windfall for smartphone unlockers in Jamaica

Many Jamaicans, despite the ongoing smartphone sales such as those for the DL800 and DL900 as reported in my blog article entitled “JA$6,950 DL750 and JA$8,250 DL800 on Sale at Digicel – Alcatel One Touch Pop C1 as ZTE Force Awakens and Alcatel’s Empire Strikes Back”, still use a regular feature phone that is Dual -Band.

This means it can only access a pair of frequencies from a single Telecom Provider as follows:

1.         Digicel GSM - 900 MHz, 1800 MHz
2.         LIME GSM - 850MHz, 1900 MHz

To be able to take advantage of MNP, the customer needs to have a Quad-Band cellphone, typically a smartphone that can access all four (4) bands as well as accept any SIM Card. Also, since the customer will also have to get a New SIM Card, the Telecom Providers may also have to keep a stock of Carrier-Free SIM Cards on hand.



These Carrier-Free SIM Cards  are similar to those used in the Netherlands, who are the first country to introduce Carrier-free SIM Cards as explained in my blog article entitled “The Netherlands makes Carrier Unlocked SIM Cards Legal - Apple's Idea revived heralding M2M and the Internet of Things, a financial Boon to Telecom Providers”.  

So clearly, since Telecom Providers are not going to yield up the information on how to unlock their smartphones to the Public, then visits to the smartphone unlocker will be on the increase.


Additionally, more Jamaicans will opt to have relatives in the US of A purchase their smartphones in the US of A unlocked as described in my blog article entitled “US Carriers must Carrier Unlock smartphones as of Wednesday February 11th 2015 – How Americans can get their smartphones Carrier unlocked”  in order to take advantage of MNP come Monday June 1st 2015.



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