My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: June 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Suggested low cost high impact Launch of Digicel WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network and DigiTV

Suggested low cost high impact Launch of Digicel WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network and DigiTV

The BEST way to Launch the new Digicel Broadband and DigiTV is as follows:

1.      NOT to Launch like LIME and CLARO, who all selectively launched in Kingston, Montego Bay and other selected areas. Instead, best to Launch island wide all at once with a fully functional and fully tested WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network, so as to give everyone a chance to try out the Network and to emphasize that fact that Jamaica is one country, and no customer is more special than the other, which is a good marketing tool to use against CLARO, which is yet to connect on a local level with Jamaican customers.
2.      Launch using Netbooks pre-loaded with Linux Ubuntu or Google Chrome OS as these are Open Source operating systems and are effectively license free. This gives Digicel product a more unique appearance, as Open Source is virtually secure and free from hacker and virus attacks as well as promoting Open Source as a cheaper alternative to Windows. Additionally the Google Chrome OS uses Google Applications which are based on cloud computing, which makes use of the Modems also sold as well, but greater emphasis on Netbooks. Additionally, fixed modems at home that utilize the underutilized WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a). Also can preload applications like OpenOffice and Penguin for users to use.

3.      Netbooks should include the driver software for the WiMaX modem should the user decided to reinstall the operating system as well as software should be provided to allow the ser the option to dual boot. By making the Netbook customizable, it will become popular with not just students but everyone include non-tech persons who like the internet and will be attracted to the Netbooks "kawaii" factor.
4.      Digicel should offer a service by which a customer on a plan can customize the physical outer appearance of their modem i.e. change the shell exterior

5.      Plans similar to those in the Cayman Islands with contacts. Suggested contracts should be a bundling of the service with the laptop/modem.
a.       1 year Contract, pay US$100 and get a Netbook preloaded with Ubuntu, Google Chrome or any customizable operating system of your choice as specified above with the option to dual boot

b.      2 year Contract, the Netbook is free and preloaded with Ubuntu, Google Chrome or any customizable operating system of your choice as specified above with the option to dual boot

To Launch the product, a Logo Competition is being suggested.

Digicel needs to start a Logo Competition among its customers to make them feel that they are able to customize the look a feel of the new Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network, Digicel IntunesDigicel Brown Dawg Social Network and Digicel Hive and DigiTV all at the same time, which is cost effective.

This Competition to Design should follow the rules and regulations as it relates to Competitions of this nature. The winner gets a cash prize, a Netbook with a two (2) years Contract free from Digicel and a free pass to the Digicel Launch of Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network and DigiTV at the National Stadium, since Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network can be used to facilitate DigiTV.

The Launch event is best held at the National Stadium and all persons below the age of 18 are free to enter. Digicel will do the ads on Television Jamaica Limited in which customers are invited to purchase tickets to the event by topping up with JA$500 or simply by joining Digicel Intunes and then Brown Dawg Mobile Social Network as detailed in the following blog articles:

Then Digicel would send them a SMS with the word “Launch” via SMS with a Ticket receipt number. The date of the Launch is kept secret until Digicel sends out a SMS to all persons who originally had sent in an SMS to the 444- gateway number or via the new CoreTalk Communications Limited SMS Platform as per my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and SMS - CoreTalk, Raiders of the Lost Ark

This is advising them of when and where to go to collect their Glow-in-the-Dark ID bracelets, Glow-in-the-Dark Digicel Broadband shirt with winning Logo Design and free Raffle Ticket for a chance to win a Netbook pre-loaded with Open Source Software. 

Currently Walt Disney has a contact with Tuff Gong to distribute Walt Disney paraphernalia in Jamaica as stated in the article “The Lion and the Mouse join Forces - Tuff Gong signs distributuion Deal with Disney”, published: Sunday September 13, 2009, The Jamaica GleanerDigicel can, via Tuff Gong or directly seeking Disney executives, get  the following artists to sing ALL of their songs at the Digicel Broadband Launch:

1.      Demi Lovato
2.      Selena Gomez
3.      Miley Cyrus
4.      The Jonas Brothers.
5.      All Disney Artiste

This is highly recommended, as these artists not only have a strong following among high school students but also among UWI and UTECH students as well, as their style of music i.e. Pop / Rock “n” Roll, is gaining in popularity with young people, the principal target market for any new Digicel and Disney Product, especially in a Recession as per the YouTube link “Send it on - Disney Channel Project Green”. Other artists are invited to perform, such as artiste from Digicel Rising Stars.

The flag ship song for the Digicel Broadband service should be Rihanna’s “Shut up and Drive” as it epitomizes adventure and a desire for speed which Digicel Broadband provides. Chris “Ludacris” Bridge from 2 Fast 2 Furiouswould also be a good fit. It would be a good idea also to have them as well as local artists who sing clean music to perform at the Launch. Strongly suggested would be an artiste lineup who sing Pop music and Rock n Roll e.g. Pink, Green Day, Avril Lavange, Linkin Park, etc.

Use of Remote controlled airplanes fitted with mini cameras that can be connected to the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network using a mini WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) package custom built by Intel, thus allowing the user/flyer to fly the airplanes around New Kingston using the street in New Kingston as a landing strip for both landing, takeoff to fly to the National Stadium, fly right around the island and land again in New Kingston.

The planes will be controlled via the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network i.e. flight as well as transmission of video back to the flyer, who will be allowed to fly the airplane without actually seeing their airplanes, instead of by using AM frequencies, as these have range of one hundred (100) feet.

Planes would be branded with logos and advertising paraphernalia from various sponsors, much in the same way racing cars are branded by sponsors. This would help to offset the cost of staging this Promotional event to Launch the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network, Digicel Intunes , Digicel Brown Dawg Social Network and Digicel Hive and DigiTV all at the same time, which is cost effective.

The use of remote controlled airplanes will not only demonstrate the reliability of the mobile versions of the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network, but also the ability to remotely control the airplane via the same WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network. Theoretically with a large enough fuel package on the airplane (they use ethanol, another marketing push to indicate that Digicel is all about Green, which is now popular with persons of all ages) these planes could fly right around the island

The Promotion would be over a week with the remote controlled airplane pilots driving in their vehicles and flying the airplanes around the island and stopping at towns inland wide to promote the service with the Digicel Team Bus which will also be carrying the promotional team to set up in each town to promote the new WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network Service and sign up customers. Television Jamaica Limited should provide exclusive live and delayed coverage or the week long events

For the entire week, the National Stadium can be rented to promote the different services that WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network has to offers customers as well as to serve as an on the spot market for phones and Netbooks that use the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network.

Post each day’s events on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter channels designated for the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network to allow everyone worldwide to follow the events in Jamaica and have clips shown on every TV station in the Caribbean and Worldwide.

The Seventh Day would end with a the planes returning back to the National Stadium, a fireworks display all night long along with music from the artiste who came to Jamaica to perform and the unveiling of the new Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network Logo based on the Logo Competition launched by Digicel as a part of the re-branding for Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network Launch. 

Digicel can also launch their promotional show to promote the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network for the rest of the year called Digicel J’Anime, an Animation Competition as described in my blog article entitled “J'Anime Competition  - An Avenue to Fame for Animators”.

Sales of the WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a) modems, WiMaX 4G Mobile(IEEE 802.16d) modems and Netbooks enabled with built in WiMaX 4G Mobile(IEEE 802.16d) modems should begin in earnest at all Digicel Stores island wide at the same exact time to encourage purchasing on Contract Plans. Signing-up should also commence for Digicel Intunes ,Digicel Brown Dawg Social Network and Digicel Hive and DigiTV, all at the same time, which is cost effective so as to be competitive with LIME 3G and CLARO 3G.

After the Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network has achieved 90% coverage of the island, the RJR Communications Group and the CVM Communications Group, both Radio and Television, can achieve DSO (Digital Switch Over) as stated in the article “Slow road to Digital Switch-Over  - Cable groups mum; FLOW ahead but Network coverage behind”, published: Saturday August 15, 2009 by Mark Titus, Business ReporterThe Jamaica Gleaner.

A similar concept is described in my blog articles:

Other VAS (Value Added Services) to be introduced over time include:

1.      VoIP (Voice over IP)
2.      Data Backup and File Transfer Services using Digicel’s Datacenter
3.      Video Calling
4.      Instant Messaging via Television
5.      Interactive Television Programming
6.      Paid-Per-View Programming
7.      Online Voting for scientific statistic polls
8.      Election Voting for Government of Jamaica
9.      Personalized Targeted Advertising
10.  Geo-Location Services and Personal Tracking Services
11.  Augmented Viewing Services
12.  Phone Directory Services
13.  Market Surveys
14.  Channel slots for other broadcasters

What do you think dear reader?

Digicel and Wimax - Great Expectations Part 1

Folks, it is official. Telecom Provider Digicel is launching their new WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network in August 2010 AD………..just in time for my birthday, which is on Sunday August 1st 2010, incidentally a month with a Friday the 13th in it, an ominous warning for all who are superstitious about such things.

This information was reported to me by reliable a Telecom Provider Digicel Contact of mine who recently applied for a job posted on Telecom Provider Digicel’s website, in which they are looking for Regional Broadband Technicians, essentially persons to drive around and install WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a) on request at Customers premises

This is in much the same way that Telecom Provider LIME Technicians from RIM (Remote Installation and Maintenance) and Telecom Provider LIME Contractors and Telecom Provider Digicel Contractors drive around and install Fixed Mobile units, HomeFone Xpress in the case of Telecom Provider LIME.

This rumor and previous reports of its ilk of Telecom Provider Digicel’s intention to launch a WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network have now been confirmed in the articleDigicel quietly testing 4G for August launch, published Sunday June 27th 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The article states that Telecom Provider Digicel is beginning the launch of their Telecom Provider Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network, nearly two (2) months behind schedule with an August Deadline for launch, most likely to be done at Denbigh, Clarendon.

Although there is no mention in the article of DigiTV in the article, my usually reliable Telecom Provider Digicel Contact stated that DigiTV as stated in the article 'DigiTV launch for 2009' - Mobile Provider branches into TV, published Friday November 14th 2009 by Ross Sheil, Online Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer will possibly be launched as a Web TV based service using Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network.

Meanwhile the Big Three (3) Broadcasters RJR Communication Group, CVM Communication Group and LOVE TV/Radio would achieve DSO (Digital Switch Over) by piggy-backing their HDTV from their all Digital Studios, both Radio and Television on the new Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network, to be decoded by the WiMaX modem at the Customers premises.

Thereby allowing the Broadcasters to also have Internet intermeshed with the Big Three (3) Broadcasters content, be it Radio or Television as the benefits being described in my blog articles entitled “Road to Damascus experience to make Broadcasters se DSO Benefits ,and descriptions of how it could be achieved in follow-up article:

  1. Web TV and 3-D TV - Towards a more interactive immersive television experience
  2. 3-D anti-piracy Technology to thwart Digital Video Piracy
  3. Google TV and DSO: An example of how a set top box can help TVJ and CVM Achieve DSO”. 

In consort with Telecom Providers under MNP (Mobile Number Portability), result in a final solution to Digital Video and Music Piracy as stated in  my blog article entitled “Piracy Solution via MNP, DSO and Legislation”.

CEO David Linehan was quoted as saying “Digicel Broadband will on Day One cover 60 per cent of the population in all 14 parishes” as stated in the article “Digicel to offer mini laptops with 4G service next year”, published Friday September 4th 2009 by Lavern Clarke, The Jamaica Gleaner.

With 60% coverage inclusive of all fourteen (14) parishes with their brand new Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network from Day One as promised by Digicel CEO David Linehan slated to launch at the end of the Second Quarter of 2010

This is an original deadline that is only one (1) week away as stated in the article “Digicel to offer mini laptops with 4G service next year”, published Friday September 4th 2009 by Lavern Clarke, The Jamaica Gleaner.

ZTE Corp of China was their build out partner of their new WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network as stated in the article “Digicel signs ZTE as 4G Mobile WiMaX Internet partner”, published Sunday, September 27, 2009, The Jamaica Observer.

Expectation among Customer is running high as to what bells and whistles the new Network will be sporting that will give it an advantage over Telecom Provider LIME 3G and Telecom Provider CLARO 3G.

A staff of one thousand (1000) persons from within and affiliated with Telecom Provider Digicel have been pre-selected to test the new WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network’s capabilities and it appears that they have something major planned for the launch that may involve Digicel Rising Stars and the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Denbigh, Clarendon.

Telecom Provider Digicel, the Telecoms Provider that claims to be the “Bigger, Better, Network” has let loose a media frenzy with regards to recent changes with regards to the sudden departure of its all star on set cast.

Namely the host Yendi Phillips and the chill room host Kerie-Ann Lewis-Thombs, otherwise known as “Kiki” as stated in the article “Rising Star host search tomorrow - Kiki address rumors”, published Monday March 29th 2010, The Monday Star.

These changes aside, there is a slew of other changes mentioned in the article, which seem to be geared towards making the show more interactive, meaningful and memorable, both as it relates to viewers making important choices in terms of who is the next host (Ms. Kitty, the “fluffy” diva is the chill room host…………albeit Tami Chynn, the Certified Diva would be a better fit).

It would also put to rest doubts to some extent the perception that the show is somehow rigged, a common comment by suspicious members of John Public, as this year the shows longer format would mean that the performers can make ample use of their onstage performance to not only increase their chances of winning but also make a lasting impression on John Public.

Interactivity has been improved with Digicel Rising Stars having its own Facebook page, which coincides with Telecom Provider Digicel’s foray into gauging its target market via Facebook and Twitter as stated in the article “Digicel gains 100,000 Facebook fans in under 100 days”, published Wednesday, 17 March 2010 by

Telecom Provider Digicel, which according to the rather winded commentary by Group CEO Colm Delves in the article “Digicel looks beyond to expand its 32 markets”, published Friday June 25th 2010 by Al Edwards, The Jamaica Observer, is also planning to launch the “ChinaBerry”.

Despite its name, is not a BlackBerry knock-off, but a company that has a product that is similar to the BlackBerry but at a cheaper price

Thus it would allow more Customers to be able to purchase a Mobile device that not only has the advantage of being significantly cheaper but also  has all the bells and whistles of the RIM BlackBerry (email and Messenger).

Thus for the first time forming a strategic alliance with a Chinese Handset Maker to support their WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network, as the “ChinaBerry” is a codename for smartphones from Telecom Equiptment Vendor HTC.

Maker of such  handsets as the HTC Evo 4G on Telecom Provider Sprint 4G Wireless Broadband Network, the first 4G phone in the United States of America.

Despite Executive Editor Molly Wood poking fun at Apple iPhone’s FaceTime rendering of the facial proportions of the callers, as listed in the article “Top 4 iPhone 4 Alternatives”, published June 8, 2010 6:52 pm, by J.R. Raphael, PC World as well as in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 4.0 and Video Calling - FaceTime sets the standard

Add the fact that the “ChinaBerry” as intoned by Digicel’s Group CEO Colm Delves supports Video Calling, akin to the Apple iPhone 4.0, which thus far Telecom Provider CLARO has failed to announce that it is supporting even the Apple iPhone 3GS.

Thus making the “ChinaBerry” and other Mobile smart phones in the same category to John Public potential Apple iPhone killers, especially in light of the fact that the number of Mobile smart phones that support WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) is growing and the popularity of the BlackBerry, which would be the perfect springboard for the “ChinaBerry”.

Early signs of nervousness on the part of Telecom Provider CLARO can be seen from their latest promotion entitled “6 Months Free BlackBerry Service”, published Friday June 25th 2010 The Jamaica Observer

oddly has dropped the prices on their 2G Blackberry to heavily subsidized prices on a two (2) year PostPaid Contract, thus making the highest priced BlackBerry work to be at least JA$48,000 after two (2) years of payments of JA$2000 for the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the title “smart” not being applicable as far as John Public aware to any BlackBerry despites its adoption of an optical track pad.

It is hoped too, that with the new WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network that Telecom Provider Digicel will introduce Contract Plans to make it easy for Customers to afford the Fixed modems, Mobile modems dongles.

Similar to that of the 3G modems from Huawei, Nokia and Sony Ericsson as sold by Telecom Provider CLARO 3G and Telecom Provider LIME 3G as well as Netbooks with WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) built in.

A SMS (Simple Messaging Service) system that alerts Customers when they are going to exceed their monthly allotted Voice Plan (Local, Cross-Network, International), SMS Plan (Local, Cross-Network, International) or Data Plan Caps.

This is assuming they are going the route of Capped or Metered Data Plans as in the case of Telecom Provider CLARO, Telecom Provider LIME or Telecom Provider AT&T as per my blog article entitled “AT&T and Capped Data Plans - Skype is no longer Free”.

A sliding ETF (Early Termination Fee) that decreases on a daily basis toward the end of the life of your two (2) year contract as per recommendation of Brian Cooley, Executive Editor from CNET News as stated in his video CNET Buzz Report, aired Thursday May 13 2010, by Brian Cooley, CNET News.

This is explained in my blog article entitled “CLARO and ETF - Pro-Rated Dutch Auction preferred”,  and would be a nice touch, with flexible pricing starting at US$100 on a two (2) year Contract for a netbook being in the works.

This launch of WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network is tinged with a bit of mystery, however, as it seems that the need to employ contractors to install what would appear to be Fixed Mobile Modems at Customer premises is odd as normally a Telecom Provider launching Wireless Broadband Modems would just simply sell the Modems from their Retail Stores.

The fact that Contractors have to be employed to even visit Customer premises would indicate that the modems are in fact WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a) modems from Avarion, who had built out Telecom Provider Digicel original foray into WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a) in 2007.

With Telecom Provider Digicel rolling out a new Television advertising campaign, emphasizing why people have been with Telecom Provider Digicel for the past nine (9) years, it is apparent that something is now on the horizon

Telecom Provider Digicel launched the much touted WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a) which the then CEO of Digicel David Hall had promised as far back as 2007 saying “We will bring something to the consumer that they won't have seen before.

It is very important to make our offering affordable to Jamaicans, so they can have access to Internet, just like with Mobile phones” as stated in the article “Digicel seeks Laptop makers in France, China....Telecom plans to subsidize computers to capture large share of Internet Market”, published Sunday February 11, 2007, Camilo Thame, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, which came on the heels of a US$100 million investment by then Digicel Chairman now owner Denis O'Brien in 2006.

Telecom Provider Digicel went on in 2007 to launch WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a) despite the fact that Internet Penetration was below 73% and despite Jamaicans lacking access to any form of telephone service being at only 6%, with 94.4% of households in Jamaica have access to telephone, Mobile phones accounting for 64%, with Cable and Wireless remained the dominant provider of fixed line connections, dominating the market with 98.6%.

Telecom Provider Digicel ruled the Mobile market after only five (5) years in Jamaica with 87%, according to an Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) commissioned survey conducted by PSEARCH Associates Limited in 2006 as summarized and annotated quite neatly in the article “Most J'cans still not online”, published Saturday,  September 2nd 2006, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Digicel even went on later in 2007 to launch CDMA just to get Customers away from MiPhone, as most roaming Customers from the United States of America used a CDMA as stated in the article “Digicel now offering CDMA Technology - To compete with MiPhone in roaming market”, published Wednesday, 14 March 2007, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But the much expected WiMaX 4G Fixed turned out to be only an overpriced Alvarion version that was out of the reach of ordinary Customers and Telecom Provider Digicel later launched in Cayman Islands as means of testing out the acceptance of WiMaX before planning to launch in Jamaica, much as they tested out DigiTV in Vanatu, Tonga and Samoa islands in the far Pacific before making the decision to launch in Jamaica.

Its success, however, must be weighed against the fact that people in the Cayman Islands are people relatively well off, and with little competition for Wireless Broadband, “success” was just being first in a market that had no other competitors, and hence was not a real gauge of what to expect in a market with real competition.

Even their “success” in Tonga with DigiTV was also the same tale: no competition, underserved markets, hence the apparent “success” as stated in the articleDigicel quietly testing 4G for August launch, published Sunday June 27th 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, indicative the coming launch of WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network.

Some say that Telecom Provider Digicel had no actual data strategy, depending solely on the United States of America market to act as a guide as to what to do next.

Others stated that they had no faith in their prior statements the statistics numbers spoke of a lackluster interest in Internet, despite the comments of Senator Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Telecommunications of the PNP (Peoples National Power) as stated in the article “Digicel now offering CDMA Technology - To compete with MiPhone in roaming market”,  published Wednesday, 14 March 2007, The Jamaica Gleaner and as opined in my blog article entitled “Digicel and the up and coming WiMaX launch - Blowing in the Wind”.

However, it would not be before 2008 that the development of the netbook, a slimmed down version of the laptop that Internet usage would explode in the United States of America that Internet access would begin to show incredible growth, especially on AT&T Network with the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007 that the trending for Mobile Internet in the United States of America, which began with Blackberrys, would become statistically significant.

Thus, Telecom Provider Digicel would have to launch their Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network in a manner that not only is loud and expensive in keeping with their usual style.

Telecom Provider Digicel offerings must be competitively priced products with innovative offerings, Customer Service to explain every nuance of the working of these WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a) Modems, WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Modems dongles and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) enabled netbooks.

With the possibility of DigiTV in the wings as stated in the article “'DigiTV launch for 2009' - Mobile Provider branches into TV, published Friday November 14th 2009 by Ross Sheil, Online Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

Then there is the Big Three (3) Broadcasters RJR Communications Group, CVM Communications Group and LOVE TV/Radio going DSO as per recommendations by the Broadcasting Commission in article “Slow road to digital switch-over - Cable groups mum; Flow ahead but Network coverage behind”, published: Saturday  August 15, 2009 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Telecom Provider Digicel, if they do their marketing and launch of their US$22.7 million dollar baby, they can defeat Telecom Provider CLARO and Telecom Provider LIME in the Data Wars………..fodder for another article.

But the true secret sauce, which Telecom Provider Digicel should have learned from its dress rehearsal with the Digicel EDGE USB Stick DC87-0 Modem as elucidated in my blog article “Digicel EDGE Modem - Report on the Testrun for Digicel Broadband

Telecom Provider Digicel’s  FaceBook and Twitter and their nearly one hundred thousand (100,000) fans on either site as stated in the article “Digicel gains 100,000 Facebook fans in under 100 days”, published Wednesday, 17 March 2010 by is that interactivity and customizability

This is the basic guideline to making money from the Data Market and eventually beating Telecom Provider CLARO is necessary in going after the very lucrative youth (age 12-18 and 19-28) Market, as adults (29-90) who are Recession wary, are not inclined to spend.

Telecom Provider Digicel needs to quickly build up a following among the youth for their new products, if integrated into their Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network would endear them to their many fans – and their Great Expectations.

Stay tuned……………..

Alternative Energy and Helix - A Test Case for Wind Power for Telecom Providers

To Be or not to be; that is the question
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing, end them

Excerpt from Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, 1

This is indeed the cry of many members of the Private Sector, who are now very much in expansion mode, thanks to the favorable investment climate created by the just concluded JDX (Jamaica Debt Exchange) as stated in the article “JDX ends at 99 per cent; Minister says thanks”, published Thursday, February 25, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

According to the letter to the editor entitled “Jamaicans ignoring the positives”, published Monday June 14 2010, by Carlin Cook, The Jamaica Gleaner, Mr. Carlin Cook posit the fact that:

1.      The police have reported no murders in a forty eight (48) hour period from Friday 11th June 2010
2.      The Jamaica dollar is strengthening against all currencies

A result of the JDX and the IMF deal and our interest rate as issued by the BOJ is now in stable single digit territory, quoted here as approximately 9.5%, the lowest in twenty eight (28) years.

As if that was not enough to encourage further macroeconomic stabilization, the strengthening of the Jamaican Dollar translates to a ripple effect thought the Jamaican Economy, in the form of a decrease in Electricity Rates.

Hence the lowering of the rate hike of 4.7% granted by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) to the JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd) to approximately 2.7% based on the First News, aired Tuesday June 15th 2010 by Simone Clarke-Cooper, Smile Jamaica, Television Jamaica

A reduction in the prices of certain products led by Mr. Matalon owned Wisynco Group as per advertisement on Sunday June 13th 2010 in the Sunday Gleaner, pg. A11 and a similar push by National Bakery to salute fledgling businesses in Jamaica titled The Bold Ones as per advertisement on Sunday June 13th 2010 in the Sunday Gleaner, pg. F8, F9.

The revaluing of the dollar affects exports by making their “artificially” more expensive and thus unattractive to merchants abroad who naturally are looking for goods at cut rate prices, a phenomenon and solution for which are thoroughly analyzed in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy and the Revalued Dollar - Cheaper Electricity is Needed”.

But it is the diversification of the Energy Sector, hitherto christened the Energy Sector Liberalization that Private Sector inclusive of FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) such as Hotels and Telecoms Providers are waiting with bated breath as Senator James Robertson, Minister of Mining and Energy negotiates with principal suppliers and Contractors with regards to the usage of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas).

This is stated by the JPS Co as resulting in a 20% to 30% decrease in the Electricity bills of customers as stated in the article “Government eyes LNG cure for Energy problems”, published Wednesday June 16 2010 by Laura Redpath, Senior Staff Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is necessary to encourage Private Sector to begin its ambitious expansion plans and thus generate growth and employment, growth here being referred to as not only employment but also increased exports and foreign exchange inflows as stated in blog article entitled “Alternative  Energy and LNG - Is Energy Sector Liberalization Necessary?”.

The strengthening of the Jamaica dollar necessitates either cheaper Electricity from the number one (1) Power Utility Company (PUC), that being JPS co, or the so-called Energy Sector Liberalization, which though necessary as far as Senator Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Minister of Mining, Energy and ICT have been strenuously lobbying for on behalf of John Public as stated in the article “Government, Opposition wrangle over Energy”, published Saturday  April 3, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Followed up by further calls for Energy Sector Liberalization as stated in the article “Paulwell calls for number portability”, published, Wednesday April 21, 2010, Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner and later when Senator Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Senator on Mining and Energy stated that “the current cost [Electricity and Fuel] is astronomical, especially for businesses.

What is needed at this time is competition in the sector,” as he stated in the article “'Follow my Blueprint' - Paulwell pushed for breakup of JPS Monopoly”, published Friday April 30 2010, Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner, all of which of course is document in my blog article “PetroCaribe Trap - Does this mean that Energy Sector Liberalization will not occur”.

John Public, in retrospect, has been wondering if Energy Sector Liberalization is even at all necessary. After all, we cannot trust the JPS Co and the Government of Jamaica and its negotiations with Contractors to achieve conversion to the usage of LNG, which may not occur before 2012 and Energy Sector Liberalization.

Though a wonderful construct of engineering efficiency and a market elixir for competition, it may not come on stream any earlier than 2012AD either due to the technical hurdles that must be overcome in enabling competition.

Then there is the apparently overlooked the Bio-Fuel Industry in general, specifically as it relates to the production of Anhydrous Ethanol using sewage, and pyrolized organic waste from any organic source as stated in the article:

1.      Microbes to start making ethanol, chemicals”, published November 18, 2009 9:52 AM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – Green Tech
2.      Microbe converts sludge to ethanol”, published Friday 11, December 2009, by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – GreenTech
3.      Wood-chip ethanol maker opens plant”, published October 15, 2009 7:50 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News – Green Tech
4.      A Forest epidemic turns into Energy opportunity”, published April 7, 2010 2:04 PM PDT by Candace Lombardi CNET News - Green Tech

So too must be the acceleration of the development of Bio-Diesel as detailed in the article:

1.      Gene-altered bugs make Bio-Diesel”, published Wed Jan 27, 1:31 pm ET by AFP,Yahoo News!
2.      'Green' gas and Diesel get boost in Bio-Fuels grant”, published December 4, 2009 12:33 PM PST, by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech
3.      Researchers coax bacteria to make Bio-Diesel”, published January 27, 2010 3:59 PM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech

Even in the traditional frontier of Solar power, the Government of Jamaica must begin its expansion with the recent implementation of practical Steam Plants in the case of eSolar as stated in the article “eSolar plugs solar plant into California grid”, published August 4, 2009 9:01 PM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech as the only shining example thus far of a solar power plant able to deliver power competitively lower than that of Fossil Fuels.

Even the production of LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as well as Hydrogen must be considered a part of the Energy mix along with the use of the Bloom Energy Server as stated in the article “Bloom Energy unveils Fuel cell of the future”, published Thursday February 25, 9:01 am ET by Glenn Chapman, AFP, Yahoo News!.

But the development of the Bio-Fuels Sector has its own stumbling block in the fact that it takes Energy to make Bio-Fuel. So unless a suitable means can be found to make Bio-Fuels the growing of Agricultural Crops would not be competitive with Fossil Fuel.

This has to be achieved in a one step process that is not Energy intensive or at least uses off-the-grid power, such as:

1.      Solar/Wind Power
2.      Bio-Fuels, be it E85, Anhydrous Ethanol, Bio-Diesel, LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas)
3.      LNG
4.      Hydrogen produced from Seawater

Fossil Fuels can themselves be a source of the Bio-Fuels, which is very possible, as E85, Anhydrous Ethanol, Bio-Diesel, LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and LNG and Hydrogen can be produced from Petroleum, with the help of genetically modified Bacteria in factory scale operations.

This too, will also take another four (4) years to become a practical, efficient and economically feasible reality, whether or not economy-of-scale is applied.

Telecom Providers, especially, among the FDI’s, albeit not squealing, are nonetheless interested in increasing their profitability by reducing Energy, but are not so readily inclined to spending additional money on buying Solar/Wind installations, as it does not contribute to making revenue directly, merely to saving on expenditure on Electricity.

Because of the consistent profit stream from offering Voice Services, be it Postpaid Contract, Prepaid (Postpaid in Jamaica), Pay-as-you-go (Prepaid in Jamaica) and Data Services, be it Capped or Unlimited Wired or Wireless Broadband plus the occasional VAS (Value Added Service), Telecom Providers, being of the “old School” of profit making, are less inclined and risk-averse to spend on experimentation or even basic market research.

Most employees and management are intoxicated by the higher-than-normal lifestyle being afforded by the offering of Telecom Providers services and benefits derived thereof, from expensive overprices smart phones (the Blackberry Bold is not a smart” phone to have, FYI).

This is a reason why most employees stay despite being stuck in a lemming-like existence of following orders and “going with the flow”, an innovation devoid culture of maintenance to keep the Switch going at all costs, as the revenue stream is guaranteed. This is owing to the fact that they are a Utility and as such are necessary for Customers to go about their normal daily lives and as such, will always be around and hence a steady source of employment.

Surprisingly therefore, that when I came across this story, I nearly spilled my Bourbon (the biscuit, not the wine….. I am what Americans refer to as a “tee-totaller”): a contractor that does Cell Tower Maintenance as well as being a Mobile Telecom Provider named Core Communications is experimenting in a three (3) month trail with Wind Power for power resale to the local Power Utility Company, in no better place than Southern California.

Core Communications is one odd little Black Foot Ferret. Core Communications are slated to begin in 2010 a trial run with a wind startup named Helix Wind, that specializes in designing small Vertical-axis Wind Turbines (VWT) that can generate Electricity even in wind speeds as low as 10 km/h as stated in the article “Powering cell phone towers with wind”, published November 11, 2009 11:35 AM PST by Candace Lombardi, CNET News - Green Tech.

Their concept is rather simple: Telecom Provider Core Communications has a lease financing arrangement, similar to car loans as stated in the article “A financial fix for wind turbine outlay”, published August 26, 2009 6:38 AM PDT by Candace Lombardi, CNET News - Green Tech to purchase small Vertical-axis Wind Turbines.

The small Vertical-axis Wind Turbines, which are used to power the Cell Towers and its RBS (Radio Base Station) or BTS (Base Transceiver Equipment), whichever is to your linguistic penchant.

Excess power generated from the powering of the cell site is sold to the Utility companies and is thus able to earn Core Communications revenue, effectively making the investment not only a money saver but also a money turner for the Telecom Provider.

Albeit this test is slated to occur in 2010, with no news of its success, it is good to note that that concept would be very applicable and attractive to Telecom Provider here in Jamaica under a liberalized Energy Sector, as any additional expenditure that earns revenue for the Telecom Provider would make them more inclined to go Solar/Wind, as saving on expenditure.

As far as Telecom Operators are concerned, is not real cash, being as it is not money coming directly coming from customers and may easily be gobble up by project overruns, ironically due to the inefficiencies of the management and their lack of interest in perusing a philosophy of efficiency at every stage of work.

 This is from the Fuel that vehicles spent on generators to work conditions in an office and the use of air conditioning that may be wasteful – and then constantly monitoring such Energy waste, often seen by management as tedious.

Power consumption and ambient temperature can be tracked by using a Network of Smart Meters and Smart Thermostats integrated into a so-called Smart Grid that wirelessly send information back to a Central Server using the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) as described in the article “Smart Meter coming to a Utility near you”, published November 2, 2009 7:32 AM PST by Martin LaMonica CNET News - Green Tech

A trend that is expected to increase in 2015AD to US$200 billion as predicted in the article “Smart-grid spending to hit US$200 billion by 2015”, published December 28, 2009 7:15 AM PST by Lance Whitney CNET News - Green Tech.

Additionally, there is an interesting spin-off from such a massive migration of indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider’s LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel from Power from the Power Utility Company which in this case is JPS Co to a Renewable Energy System!

In that scenario Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination would be Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Power as Tertiary Power Source, it would significantly lower costs in terms of Power and Telecom Provider could return to the days of providing “all-you-can-eat” uncapped Data Plans.

Alternative Energy is the Telecom Provider “strong tower” and is an investment in the long run that benefits the Telecom Provider with stable clean and fully auditable power usage that reduces costs which can be easily passed on to the consumer…………

To be or not to be, that is the question indeed, Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them……….in this case the Achilles Heel of Telecom Providers, that being the usage of Power Utility Company’s Electricity and taking the Telecom Provider completely off the Grid.