My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: CLARO and ETF - Pro-Rated Dutch Auction is prefered


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CLARO and ETF - Pro-Rated Dutch Auction is prefered

{41:25}  And  Joseph  said  unto  Pharaoh,  The  dream  of Pharaoh  [is]  one:  God  hath  shewed  Pharaoh  what  he  [is]about to do.
{41:26} The seven good kine [are] seven years; and  the  seven  good  ears  [are]  seven  years:  the  dream  [is]one. 
{41:27}  And  the  seven  thin  and  ill  favoured  kine  that came up after them [are] seven years; and the seven empty ears  blasted  with  the  east  wind  shall  be  seven  years  of famine. 

Genesis 41 vs 25 to 28

Opinion pieces are not usually my thing, but since the story about the Verizon Customer who was over billed to the tune of US$18000 shown in the video CNET Buzz Report, aired Thursday May 13 2010, by Brian Cooley, CNET News (CBS) ( and the trending in the United States of America towards Pre-Paid Plans (equivalent to Jamaican Postpaid, but more flexible) both in the feature phones and the smart phone market as reported in the articles “Prepaid wireless outpaces contract services”, published April 5, 2010 3:35 PM PDT CNET News - Signal Strength by Marguerite Reardon and stated in the article “Smart phones come to prepaid wireless market”, published May 19, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength, (, it has me taking my painkillers again – for a headache.

Thus the FCC (Federal communications Commission) is running like the errant Knight in shining armour to save the Americans suffering under the wilting heat of what I would like to call the “seven years of famine” in the United States of America, much as was the dream by Pharaoh that Joseph interpreted as slyly alluded in the article in the article “FCC says consumers are 'bill shocked'”, published May 26, 2010 9:41 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon CNET News - Signal Strength, ( Thus, in short order, there will be the coming of SMS (Short Messaging Service) to alert people just as they are about to exceed their Minutes (on-net, cross network, International), SMS (on-net, cross network, International)  on their Voice Plans and Modem Megabytes Data Caps on their Data Plans.

The FCC also plans to force Telecom Providers to simplify its Voice and Data Plans by revealing to Customers hidden cost and more transparent billing to aid Customer navigate the confused myriad of choices that now exist among Customers. But there is one impediment that is a factor that is weighing heavily in the minds of many Customers that is making them opt for Pre-Paid Plans as opposed to Contract Plans is the onerous ETF (Early Termination Fees) associated with Contract Plans, about which the FCC had recently sent letters to AT&T, Google and Verizon as stated in the article “Mobile carriers, Google defend cancellation feespublished February 25, 2010 1:17 PM PST by Marguerite Reardon CNET News - Signal Strength, (

The ETF comes into effect when a Customer, upon discovering that they are being overcharged or just simply wish to change their contract from one Telecom Provider to another Telecom Provider, can apply for the early termination of their service and the transfer of their contract to the Telecom Provider of their choice with more favorable terms, a feature that is possible due to the fact that Contract Plans require identification verification via a Credit Card, which could be easily be achieved by using other Government of the United States of America approved Identification i.e. Driver’s License, Passport, Social Security Card thereby allowing cash transactions, albeit Apple’s long time policy of refusing cash transactions is perfectly legal as reported in the video report CNET Buzz Report Thursday 20-05-2010 by Brian Cooley, CNET News (CBS) (

The reason why is simple: some of these ETF rates are so high, US$200 and upwards as per the article that most Customers are now opting to just purchase the smart phones on less prices and easier-to-control Pre-Paid Plans as stated in the article “Prepaid wireless outpaces contract services”, published April 5, 2010 3:35 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength, ( as more and more Americans are opting to go Pre-Paid with Budget Carriers such as Sprint and MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) such as Leap Wireless, MetroPCS and Virgin Mobile. These Pre-paid plans, which are structured in a tiered manner similar to LIME UltraPak (Post-Paid), are getting the bulk of new Mobile Phone subscriptions as Americans seek to cut their costs.

Even typical big spenders on Mobile Phones such as Apple iPhones and Blackberrys are now opting to have these high-end smart phones on a Pre-Paid monthly plan as stated in the article “Smart phones come to prepaid wireless market”, published May 19, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength, ( which albeit more expensive in terms of having to purchase the mobile instrument as opposed to it being free under a Contract Plan is apparently preferable to Americans wary of higher ETF (Early Termination Fees) from the Big Four (4) Telecom Provider – AT&T, Verizon, Spring and T-Mobile. A similar trend is happening here in Jamaica, with a trending towards cheaper Pre-paid (equivalent to Pay-as-you-Go) as opposed to monthly Postpaid (Prepaid in America) and Contract Plans for which the only provider in Jamaica is Telecom Provider CLARO.

Telecom Provider CLARO has the distinction currently of being the only company to offer Contract Plans, which are rather convenient as it allows Customers to own a high-end smart phone without having to purchase the phone full price. Telecom Provider LIME is also rolling out 3G and wary of the difficult economic times brought on by the Recession in the North, have begun offering unlimited uncapped 3G data with one (1) day, seven (7) day and thirty (30) day pass at severely discounted prices as stated in the article “LIME LAUNCHE PREPAID MOBILE INTERNET” , published Friday, April 09, 2010 The Jamaica Observer (, which curiously enough is structured somewhat similarly to Telecom Provider AT&T and Telecom Provider Clearwire’s Prepaid Internet offerings alongside its Contract Plans for modems and smartbooks. 

Telecom Provider Digicel might be considering using Plans similar to Telecom Provider CLARO to make Netbook and smart phone ownership a bit less taxing on the consumer as suggested in the article “Digicel to offer mini laptops with 4G service next year”, published Friday September 4th 2009 by Lavern Clarke, The Daily Gleaner, (, with ZTE Corp of China as 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, (

Making the ETF more flexible, such as reducing the value of the ETF in a sliding scale would be nice, as John Public is definitely not buying the excuse of a subsidy as enunciated by Robert Quinn, AT&T's Senior Vice President who wrote back to the FCC stating “Customers clearly understand that they have choices. While the vast majority of Telecom Provider AT&T's subscribers choose term commitments and discounted or free handsets, Telecom Provider AT&T has millions of month to month and prepaid subscribers.

Still, overwhelming consumer demand for such bundled discounts drives carriers to make even highly sophisticated and costly devices like smart phones and Netbooks available at steep discounts, even from the moment they are introduced”. That is some serious “animal dung” as during the lifespan of any typical Contract Plan, the Customer has paid for not only the full price of the phone, but also for the minutes as well, thus leaving the Customer with the only true benefit of being able to have a cool expensive phone – and a large unpayable bill.

Thus, to be fair to loyal Customers, the ETF should decrease on a pro-rated deal from the discount value to zero on the two (2) year anniversary, somewhat like a Dutch Auction, a phrase alluding to an auction that decreases the value of the product as opposed to increasing. On the day that the Customer decides to early terminate, the Telecoms Provider should be able to tell the customer the ETF via a SMS service being sent on request by the Customer at any given time as Brian Cooley so famously rants, as expounded in the video CNET Buzz Report, aired Thursday May 13 2010, by Brian Cooley, CNET News (CBS) (

Combined with the above mentioned SMS and even an option to part pay down on the contracted cost of Plan and even swap you phone for another cool smart phone of your choice with the same value without incurring a cost, Contract Plans can not only be made less hair and blood pressure raising but even attract more people, even in a recession by virtue of a more transparent, paperless and friendly offering that would help people to “Move Up” without moving into the dog house every time their bill arrives.
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