My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel and Wimax 4G Mobile - Gorillas in the Mist

Monday, August 23, 2010

Digicel and Wimax 4G Mobile - Gorillas in the Mist

Grow up as soon as you can. It pays. The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty.

Hervey Allen, Anthony Adverse

On a dead Sunday, John Public is munching my chocolate pipe, puffing away in contentment. By the way, I make my own chocolate pipes, as all you need is molten milk chocolate and a mold to pour them in and let them cool to set. Telecom Provider Digicel has launched with a bang but with mobile 4G handsets expected in a years time as stated in the article “Digicel goes 4G”, published Saturday, August 21, 2010 By ROSS SHEIL Online co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

This I had indicated in my previous article is a rational fear of Dekal Wireless and the coming horde of cheaper Netbooks, Laptops, 3-D HDTV’s, Digital Cameras and other Consumer Electronics devices that have Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) embedded in them, as per my statistical analysis in my previous blog article, the “manifest destiny” of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) now being fuelled by falling prices for these Consumer Electronics due to the Apple iPad  and Apple iPhone 4.0.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with the phones being expensive, a flimsy excuse exposed by the slip of tongue by the WiMaX CEO, Alex Boothroyd, as Telecom Provider CLARO has “expensive phones” selling on contract and people are still buying them, albeit slowly.

Customers are opting for much lower priced models as the Recession is beginning to bite like piranhas scenting blood, as per the movie Piranha (2010) now that the American Economy is slowing down as stated in the article “Global downturn signals ice, with fire only much later, for international investment markets”, published Sunday, August 22, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

It  has nothing to do with phone pricing, as Imax CEO, Alex Boothroyd has stated that Telecom Provider Digicel is launching ONLY with Netbooks, Laptops and 4G-to-Wi-Fi(IEEE 802.11n) Routers or Mobile hotspots, more popularly called Mi-Fi in a previous article “Digicel all set to unveil 4G Broadband offering”, published Friday, August 13, 2010 by AL EDWARDS, The Jamaica Observer, confirmation of their fear or the nimble and ever expanding Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Dekal Wireless.

John Public is not buying this song and dance, as their prices, albeit competitive in the bread-and-butter Department of thirty (30) day subscription in terms of pricing for their Wireless Broadband Service when compared to Telecom Provider CLARO and Telecom Provider LIME, they are no match for Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, Dekal Wireless, with a pricing point of JA$2400 Prepaid for their thirty (30) day subscription

This versus JA$3000 Prepaid for Telecom Provider Digicel’s thirty (30) day subscription with comparable tiered speeds of 4MBps and 10Mbps maximum, as per their websites.

Predicting the future should be so clear than had my sweet baboo, Audia Granston, still being alive, as a Seventh Day Adventist, would have had no qualms about which she would eventually choose: Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, Dekal Wireless.

Their Postpaid plans is at a very competitive price to Telecom Provider CLARO, Telecom Provider LIME and Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Dekal Wireless and thus would present some real competitive advantage, John Public quite openly admits, based on the article “Digicel retrofitting stores for 4G”, published Sunday August 22 2010 by The Jamaica Gleaner.

It remains to be seen what kind of performance these devices will produce, however, as I do not have a device to test, thus I am reliant on reviews on the over-eager techies from TechJamaica, basis for another article.

However, I have already seen a modem dongle in action, as it appears that it is as fast as Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Dekal Wireless but as I had suspected, due to its more linear amplifiers required for the QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) used in WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Networks, it suffers from heat dissipation problems, as I noticed from the vents on the side of the modem! Blazing fast and blazing hot!! Not bad Telecom Provider Digicel!!

It looks like Triple Play Provider FLOW hits Telecom Provider Digicel where it hurts, in terms of pricing and people will soon know this pricing distinction, sans the need to purchase and install a modem. However, Telecom Provider Digicel throws a mean left hook with its brilliant Customer Care and device branding, which ironically, I must admit, may actually wow people for a while in how it simplifies the whole setup process of their  modem, despite how cumbersome and bulky it looks.

Despite this, the long term solution is still going MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and the introduction of a free Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.1n) Network with Universal Capped Data Plans is the only way to cauterize losses from their pricey Wireless 3G and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Networks, to the budget Wireless Broadband Networks like Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Dekal Wireless, which albeit farfetched, is the only sure way of keeping Customers in this new Data paradigm.

This is the same thing that Telecom Provider AT&T has done, as they are now using their Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network to shunt traffic and thus buy themselves time as the upgrade for the eventual push for 4G called LTE (Long Term Evolution), which is based of 3G.

The news reports, albeit not absolute proof, does follow a continuing trend of Telecom Providers not doing research and just launching on the basis of old research, as any PhD student will tell them that information that is garnered via research become easily dated, especially if it is statistical Data collected on Consumer trends, research that tends to be very expensive to undertake and must be done on a continuous basis, as the vagaries of Consumer taste change almost daily.

Their research may reflect numbers and comparisons to other economies, such as Malaysia, where Director of Broadband Services at Digicel, Paul Hogan, claims Broadband penetration is at 50%, without stating the fact that in Malaysia, their economy is a technology driven, industrial manufacturing, IT and Consumer Electronics driven Muslim Society, which sees training and education as a way forward, as opposed to Jamaica where these gadgets appear only as “bling”, symbols of wealth and privilege for a dwindling voiceless  uninvolved middle class (I am working class, for the record, first of my generation to have attained education).

There is a growing class of people in Jamaica who have no education and money coming from unaudited sources, which would explain Director of Broadband Services at Digicel, Paul Hogan’s confidence but the misplaced logic of CEO Mark Linehan who is quoted as saying “All of a sudden now you are increasing the footprint of broadband availability from 17 per cent to 60 per cent. What that means is dynamic and paradigm changes. What it means for Jamaica is a better economy, better education and better entertainment.”

Indeed, the “better education” is the misplaced part, and the “better entertainment” part is the more relevant opinion of the CEO Mark Linehan. With that kind of speed in the hands of the typical Jamaican, and the knowledge of pricing points of these services, it now becomes clear what will happen in the next year leading up to Telecom Provider Digicel’s launch of 4G Handsets.

People will initially, albeit a bit cautiously, buy their products, inclusive of Netbooks, Laptops and Modem dongles, mainly those Tech Jamaica Techie types, University Students and Data Hogs and Pirates, usually young people between the ages of 13 to 25, who are addicted to the unlimited bandwidth they may often access on LIME ADSL and FLOW Cable Broadband whether at home, school or University.

This, albeit churn for the competition, is necessary pruning of any effectively run Data Network and is a boon to Telecom Provider CLARO and Telecom Provider LIME, as Data Customers like that are not supposed to be allowed to use the Internet, as their usage of the Internet constitutes a breach of Fair Usage Rules and may even begin to infringe on Copyright holders of various content, their most likely reasons for being on a Network being downloading illegal content and in the process degrading the service.

Telecom Provider Digicel knows this, as their service requires registration and adherence to rules to prevent abuse, with termination of your contract and access to their WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) being permanently blocked, a necessary measure to prevent abuse.

But Customers will eventually get wind of the above information as it relates to embedded Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) in Consumer Electronics products on their own from relatives abroad as it relates to the pricing points for products such as Laptops, Netbooks and smart phones, as I do not live abroad but am comfortably ensconced in my mini-computer lab in Rest District, Milk River, Clarendon, in Jamaica and thus anyone reading this will on my blog will say I am spreading rumours.

Customers will thus begin to know what I know based on my many online readings. Thus, there will be, in short order, much as is the case in mobile phone market, an eventual drop-off in the number of people buying a Laptop, Netbook or Modems with WiMaX 4G mobile (IEEE 802.16d).

Based on this knowledge that will compel them to have relatives abroad send down the cheaper Netbooks, Laptops, modems and other Consumer Electronics with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) baked in, knowing full well that the cheaper, stealthy no frills and just-as-fast Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network, Dekal Wireless will be expanding island wide by Christmas of 2010. Simple as that.

The usual marketing maneuvering will occur, of course among the Telecom Providers, as already Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO now no longer charge for overage and hopefully may begin advising Customers via email of when they exceed their overage, as having their speed suddenly drop to EDGE speed without explanation is enough to force anyone to jump ship and log on to Telecom Provider Digicel.

To counter this, Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME may consider bumping up their Networks to HSPA + as opposed to their current setting of HSPA 7.2, purchasing T1, and expanding their coverage with the intention of achieving higher speeds of 21 Mbps, on par with Rogers Wireless in Canada and increase their Data Cap to about 5 GB upon completion of this upgrade, as truly, that is the purpose of the cap, really – and pray that their Networks can hold up to the coming strain of streaming and downloading.

There seems to be no rest for the wicked, as an upgrade to LTE for Telecom Provider CLARO and Telecom Provider LIME may be in the cards for 2014, the latest. This may seem strange, but keep in mind that a Wireless Broadband is a shared access facility and as such needs to have safeguards to prevent abuse.

Hence Telecom Provider CLARO and Telecom Provider LIME uses caps that drop the speed to EDGE on exceeding and like Telecom Provider Digicel, registration using Government of Jamaica Identification i.e. Passport, Voter’s ID, Driver’s License and lays down the law to prevent unauthorized unregistered access as a means of avoiding criminal liability in case of persons using the Network for the purpose of hacking.

Hopefully during this year, a day as Seventh Day Adventist’s would approximate a year in prophecy using the day for a year principle, actions by the Government of the United States of America as it relates to the recent spate of takeovers or crackdowns if you will, of websites involved in the distributing of copyright infringing content i.e. pirated movies, music, etc

This as well as the issuing of warrants of arrests for the principal masterminds involved in hosting these sites and the bank accounts holding their ill-gotten gains as stated in the article “Feds seize cash, Web sites of alledged film pirates”, published June 30, 2010 3:11 PM PDT by Greg Sandoval CNET News - Media Maverick and the subsequent disclosure that Congress is going after Colleges and Universities to make them culpable for the sins of it student population as it relates to the downloading of said copyright infringing content as stated in the article “Federal rules on campus file sharing kick in today”, published July 1, 2010 7:14 AM PDT by Greg Sandoval CNET News - Media Maverick

This will dent this expected flood of Data and result in a Network Neutral Internet that at the end of the day is more respectful of the Copyright of Music Artiste represented by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as well as Movie Studios, the chief content downloaded over Super Fast Broadband Networks as stated in the article “RIAA pushes Google, Verizon for piracy crackdown”, published August 20, 2010 12:29 AM PDT, by Declan McCullagh, CNET News - Politics and Law.

The actions of the United States of America are a modicum to increase their Economy’s Tax Net by the introduction of a National Broadband Plan spearheaded by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski as stated in the article “100MBps broadband may be closer than you think”, published March 8, 2010 4:00 AM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

Albeit questions linger about the extent of the Government of the United States intentions as it relates to regulation, which in the face of it, appears set to make broadband prices higher and constrict Universal Adoption plans as stated in the article “The FCC's disingenuous 'third way' on broadband”, published May 19, 2010 12:32 PM PDT by Lawrence Spiwak, CNET News – Wireless.

Globally Broadband prices are dropping, based on research by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) making Universal Broadband a real possibility as stated in the article “Mobile, broadband prices dropping worldwide”, published February 24, 2010 9:43 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Digital Media.

 Hopefully also, within this one (1) year period, Senator Dwight Nelson, Minister of National Security and Justice’s Proposal for MRSI (Mandatory Registration of Subscriber Information) as stated in the article “CLARO Backs Cell Phone Tracking Plan; Digicel, LIME in Wait-And-See Mode”, published Sunday May 16, 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This after having made his intention clear to pursue the same Crime strategy as Mexico as there is an obvious link to criminals or “badmen” as laid out in my blog posting entitled “Mexico and MNP: A Solution to Crime in Mexico”, who use Unregistered Mobile Phones, Phone Instruments (mobile, fixed line mobile, landline or wired /wireless modems) IMEI and SIM Cards (mobile, fixed line mobile, landline or wired /wireless modems) IMSI to organize crime.

This is as suggested in the Reuters report that as mentioned in the news report by CNET Loaded aired April 12 2010 by Natalie Del Conte, CNET News, CBS Interactive and confirmed by the article “Mexico may shut down 25.9 million Cell phones which haven't joined Registry”, published April 11, 2010 - 11:45pm by MacRonin, Privacy Digest.

The United States of America seems to think MRSI is a good idea, so much so that the Obama Administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in their cell phones' [mobile devices] whereabouts and the U.S. Department of Justice lawyers argue that “a Customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the Government of the United States of America State Department its own records” i.e. mobile device placed and received calls as stated in the article "Feds push for tracking cell phones", published February 11, 2010 4:00 AM PST by Declan McCullagh, CNET News - Politics and Law.

Thus it is not surprising that the Government of the United States of America has now caught on to this idea of MRSI and has realized after the failed bombing plot in New York Time Square  by alleged bomb plotter, Faisal Shahzad as stated in the article “US lawmakers target pre-paid cell phone anonymity”, published Wednesday 26-05-2010, Yahoo News, (AFP). So much for privacy!!

So it seems that in this year period, this super fast uncapped broadband service may become an accelerant for Digital Video and Music Piracy and Crime, as to date, Telecom Provider Digicel, Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO have yet to agree on MNP (Mobile Number Portability) as specified in the article “OUR signal Policy Shift on Portability - Says Jamaica is running out of Phone Numbers”, published Friday November 20, 2009, by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner

Adoption of MNP by the Telecom Providers as a means of protecting their Network integrity and determining who logs onto their Network! The Big Three (3) Broadcasters, RJR Communications Group, CVM Communications Group and LOVE TV/Radio are yet to agree on DSO (Digital Switch Over) plans 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, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner as a means of protecting themselves from the onslaught of easily viewable and streamable content.

This due to decreased viewership of live content on television and an increased prevalence of time shifting [recording] of content to watch at a later date, as Comcast recently discovered is the case in a recent study as stated in the article “Survey of viewers shows extent of TV time shifting”, published Tuesday August 17, 6:53 am ET By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer, Yahoo News.

It would seem that the Telecom Providers do not care that contrary to the musings of Digicel CEO Mark Linehan, this will have a detrimental effect on the Jamaican Economy if not properly regulated using MNP (Mobile Number Portability), which is highly recommended for a Broadband Network of such great national importance.

MNP would allow for verifiable tracking of people on the Internet, both legitimate citizens and persons engaging in criminal activity, Credit Card usage online, which currently is not possible due to security issues and poor Cybercrime Legislation as stated in the article “Move to Tackle CyberCrime - Hacker got Golding”, published Sunday  February 14, 2010 by Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

It would give the Government of Jamaica the ability to collect tax online revenues from the introduction of regulated Offshore Banking or even Online Gambling, as is soon to be the case in the United States of America as stated in the article “Congress may roll dice, legalizing Net Gambling” published May 18, 2010 11:14 PM PDT by Declan McCullagh, CNET News - Politics and Law.

The French are mimicking their decision by planning to open up their Gaming and Lottery Industry to Online Gambling as stated in the article “France opens its market to online gaming”, published Tuesday June 8, 12:03 pm ET by PARIS (AFP), Yahoo News. This ostensibly for the purpose of increasing tax revenues seems to be the plan stated in the article “Democrats push for new Internet sales taxes”, published July 2, 2010 12:28 PM PDT by Declan McCullagh, CNET News - Politics and Law.

Sadly, there is also a lack of dialog between the Telecom Providers as it relates to a National Broadband Plan, as obviously from my long epistle, Wireless Broadband is all about pricing of service and equipment and coverage issues, which should have the attention of Government of Jamaica regulators, despite the fact that the Telecom Providers are all FDIs (Foreign Direct Investor). Despite this, this is a good start for Telecom Provider Digicel………but beware!! Aside from Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Network Dekal Wireless there are other Gorillas lurking in the mist………

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