My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Telecom Providers and Video Calling - London Bridge is Fallling down

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Telecom Providers and Video Calling - London Bridge is Fallling down

There’s no art
To find the mind’s construction in the face

Shakespeare, Macbeth, I, 4

Telecom Provider CLARO has begun to make another foray into selling their phones on the premise that they offer 3G Video Calling, apparently trying to ride on the wave generated by the debut of FaceTime for the Apple iPhone 4.0, now with its mint fresh iOS 4.0 as stated in the article as stated in the video CNET Buzz Report, aired Thursday June 10th 2010, by Molly Wood, Executive Editor, CNET News.

Apple has pretty much set the standard for video calling, with a pitch in their Apple iPhone 4.0 Louie Armstrong Commercial  “When the World Smiles with You” to emote those feeling one conjures up when one sees your loved ones in live and living colour.

In a similar manner, Telecom Provider CLARO, realizes this, especially with news of the coming of Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Provider Dekal Wireless led by Wayne Chen, in partnership with other Chinese Dragons, the term used for wealthy Chinese Business owners as stated  in the article “Wayne Chen, Lees enter Wireless Broadband Market”, published Friday July 30th 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Financial Gleaner.

Not even WiMaX 4G Fixed (IEEE 802.16a), chipmaker Intel’s baby, also conceived in 2002, which curiously enough was based on a suggestion of mine to the IEEE to which I was a member at the time and Intel before the WiMaX Alliance was formed, to:

1.      Add sectors
2.      Use an unlicensed spectrum
3.      Boost the power on the specs for Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g) was as widely received as Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) – and I shall not tire of saying this
4.      Have a speed of 300 Mbps theoretical and a radius of 200 m.

WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) has a speed of 80 Mbps theoretical but with the advantage of a radius of over 30 km, both of them of course not offering handover, albeit Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) is capable of doing it as Wi-Fi Routers, akin to GPS-enabled mobile phones, are often used for geo-location services once enabled.

Technical foibles aside, despite the handsome profits, mainly from Voice Telecoms as stated in the article “Telecom revenue hit record in September Q” published Wednesday July 7th 2010, The Jamaica Observer, with profits overall up by 6.5% year-on-year to US$13.5 billion.

The Data Telecoms side of the business is nascent and was on a slow rise, until Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Provider Dekal Wireless exploded into action up, with their very affordable and reasonably priced offering, with packages priced in tiers of 4GB per second and 10 GB per second, referred to as Silver and Gold in their price offerings.

This is typical of Chinese Culture, who see Silver and Gold resplendent in their artwork as it relates to the Dragons featured in the traditional Dragon Dance, done at the start of each Chinese New Year.

Like I said the last time, John Public might need to learn a Far East Language, as it appears that they are taking over. This was observed by making a quick check at the Young’s Pharmacy, which showed their pricing plans as follows:

1.      24 Hour Day Pass costs JA$150 under the Silver Package and JA$180 under the Gold package
2.      Seven (7) Day Pass costs JA$960 under the Silver Package and JA$1200 under the Gold package
3.      Thirty (30) Day Pass costs JA$2400 under the Gold package, as there is no Silver Package

Clearly reserving the ultra fast or SuperWiFi for the thirty (30) day subscribers as suggested in the article “Welcome to Dekal Wireless! - Price Plans”, as viewed on Tuesday August 10 2010, Dekal Wireless.

Already they are straddling most of the island, also in less than a year, like Telecom Provider CLARO, with rather convincing advantages, especially the one in which Dekal Wireless claims to be providing service to people in the rural parts of Jamaica and especially appealing is their chief caveat, in John Public eyes, stating quite clearly that the customer does not need to purchase a modem as stated in the article “Welcome to Dekal Wireless - 9 Super Advantages” as viewed on Tuesday August 10 2010, Dekal Wireless.

Which is true, as most mobile smart phones, Laptops and Netbooks come built with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) support. Smart phones are now being enabled with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) according to a report that ABI Research published in March 2010, stated in the article “Wi-Fi smart phones to dominate”, published March 23, 2010 3:01 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - CTIA 2010.

The research firm, In-Stat, expands this further, however to a virtual armada of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled devices. In-Stat projects the prevalence of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled smart phones, Netbooks and laptops to increase from five million (5,000,000) to sixty five million (65,000,000) by 2014 based on statistical data collected from Research firm In-Stat in May 2010 as stated in the article “More people buying Wi-Fi enabled devices”, published May 4, 2010 10:03 AM PDT by Lance Whitney CNET News – Wireless.

The strongest growth area being smart phones, projected to be embedded in five hundred and fifteen million (515,000,000) such devices.

Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) is now in such devices as 3-D HDTV’s set to launch this Summer of 2010 as stated in the article “Samsung, Panasonic start selling 3-D TV's this week”, published Tuesday March 9 2010, 11:04 am ET, By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo! News.

Game consoles, Receiver Boxes for Broadband Cable and even picture frames, a curious correlation to AT&T’s plan to connect everything to their 3G, GSM and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks as stated in the article “AT&T connects everything to its Network”, published March 24, 2010 6:55 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon CNET News - CTIA 2010.

AT&T has been expanding its Network of free Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) “hotspots” in possible anticipation of the traffic loads from the Apple iPad, even placing one oddly enough of all places, in empty New York’s prosaic Time Square, which as Molly Wood, Executive Editor from CNET jokingly states is for the “Wal-Mart” people as stated in her video CNET Buzz Report, aired May 2nd 2010, CNET News.

Even internet capable US$30 “feature” phones are being “custom fitted” towards a younger generation as Mary J. Bligh states in her AT&T advertisement (search “AT&T Mary J Bligh” on,  with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) as apps are being made for them. Examples abound, such as quick SMS (Short Messaging Service) like the LG Zeon, Neon and Karma as stated in the article “AT&T pushes quick messaging phones”, published March 24, 2010 6:10 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon CNET News - CTIA 2010.

Even “feature” phones without Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) can get the capability, the Japanese using the clever route of the MicroSD card as stated in the article “Wi-Fi finds back door into ordinary cell phones”, published July 23, 2009 3:04 PM PDT by Mats Lewan CNET News – Crave, further lending credence to In-Stat’s claims.

Then there is WiGIG, the protocol developed by the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (Intel, Dell, NEC, Toshiba, and Microsoft) to be used on high end home entertainment and computer products for point to point high speed data transfers of video and audio between multimedia devices such as HDTV screens and Blu-Ray players and computers as stated in the article “WiGiG group finalizes new wireless standard”, published December 11 2009 by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Blog Network.

This is now confirmed by the follow-up article as soon coming as stated in the article “Wi-Fi to cultivate speedy 60GHz band”, published May 11, 2010 11:08 AM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News - Wireless. WiGig is running on the 60 GHz spectrum, an unlicensed frequency relatively unused at this point and in direct competition with proprietary standards WirelessHD and Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI). 

Wi-Fi Direct, the self-described BlueTooth assassin as stated in the article “Wi-Fi is about to get a whole lot easier”, published October 14, 2009, 12:01AM EST by Olga Kharif, BusinessWeek - INTERNET, has been around for awhile, making tethering easy for the Apple iPhone 4.0.

Wi-Fi Direct is a point-to-point protocol and a direct competitor to BlueTooth that has an Open Architecture based on Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), also supported by the Wi-Fi Alliance that turns smart phones into Wi-Fi “hotspots”, effectively “tethering”, a capability for which some strange reason Telecom Providers such as AT&T charge customers to do. Any device that has Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) can be made WiGig or Wi-Fi direct compatible via a simple Firmware update.

Frank Dickson, In-Stat's Vice President of Research, puts it all into perspective when he rounds up his research firm’s finding by stating “Wi-Fi swept through the computing Market, driven by the need to access and share broadband connectivity. That same consumer desire is now resulting in Wi-Fi adoption across the entire range of connected consumer electronics, driving significant Wi-Fi volumes. The ubiquitous adoption of Wi-Fi in consumer electronics is Wi-Fi's manifest destiny.”

Telecom Provider LIME is now carrying the supposed flagship smart phone from Telecom Provider Digicel namely the BlackBerry Storm ( the only “smart” phone from Blackberry, which is finally catching the trend of touch screens and multimedia) as stated in the LIME Advertisement, dated Monday July 19 2010, The Sunday Gleaner. The fact that Telecom Provider LIME has just reached Montego Bay as stated in the article “LIME to build US$40m 3G Network for Montego Bay”, published Sunday June 27, 2010, by Janeta Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Sunday Gleaner.

Thus Telecom Provider CLARO has to act fast or find themselves being beaten out by some Real Chinese people, and now the employees of Telecom Provider CLARO can now see why the Mexicans are so cheap.

They are merely trying to keep the costs low enough to be competitive and provide a reliable service at as low a cost as possible, as the Mexicans probably were well aware of the fact that with the recent launch of the Digicel Jus Buss Promotion on Thursday July 1st 2010 in celebration of the Summer of 2010.

A herald like the Silver Surfer for Galactus, here portrayed as the impending launch of it WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Wireless Broadband Network in August 2010 as now been confirmed in the article “Digicel quietly testing 4G for August launch”, published Sunday June 27th 2010 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Reporter, The Sunday Gleaner, The Sunday Gleaner.

Telecom Provider Digicel will have to move quickly to distinguish themselves e.g. advising Customer of when they are about to exceed their Data Caps and having a sliding ETF (Early Termination Fee) for their Voice (Local, Cross Network, International), SMS (Local, Cross Network, International), and Data Plans.

Even going as far as assisting customers in reducing their usage of megabytes by suggesting software that they can use to track their megabyte usage when using the thirty (30) day Data Plans or offering completely unlimited downloading without throttling bandwidth on certain days for the thirty (30) or charging, even lowering the cost of their modems as well as the cost of their unlimited thirty (30) day Internet and doing away with charging for overage.

The thirty (30) day Data Plan is the bread and butter of Data Services, be they 3G, WiMaX 4G mobile (IEEE 802.11n) or Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and can be seen as the main bread and butter of Telecom Provider CLARO or Telecom Provider CLARO will soon be finding themselves being defeated by a rag-tag team of engineers and devices already pre-loaded with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modems.

Do I hear free tethering using your smart phone as a mobile hotspot? Will the Telecom Provider begin selling 3G-to-Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) routers or 4G-to-Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) routers, also called mobile hotspots?

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.

The Big Three (3) Broadcasters RJR Communications Group, CVM Communications Group and LOVE TV/Radio going DSO (Digital Switch Over) 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.

Possibly piggybacking on Digicel WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) , Digicel, if they do their marketing and launch of their US$22.7 million dollar baby right, can defeat Telecom Provider CLARO and Telecom Provider LIME in the Data Wars.

But even with this, why does John Public suspect that all those modems out their will soon become expensive paperweight?

The Apple iPad and it insatiable demand by the vulgate populi in the United States of America seems to indicate this. Apple and its iconic Apple iPad has created a tablet Market vortex, predicted to cannibalize the Netbook Market as stated in the article “ Netbook Sales Sag as the iPad Arrives” published April 7, 2010, 12:27AM EST By Cliff Edwards, CNET News – COMPUTERS seems true

Apple jumped from number seven (7) when placed in the same lumpen proletariat category of portable computers i.e. Netbooks, Notebooks, to number three (3) in the world. This is based on the utterances of Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore, a Blogger for Fortune Magazine on the Apple 2.0 Blog as stated in the article “iPad pushes Apple into the top mobile ranks”, published August 2, 2010 9:20 PM PDT by Brooke Crothers, Nanotech - The Circuits Blog.

Apple it seems, has been buoyed into this position by its three million, three hundred thousand (3,300,000) plus sales since the debut of the Apple iPad on the weekend of Saturday April 3rd and Sunday April 4th 2010 AD.

News of Hulu on the Apple iPad as stated in the article “Hulu launches $10 video subscription service”, published Tuesday June 29 2010 by RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writer, Yahoo! News  and the coming front facing camera for FaceTime Video Calling as hinted in the article “Report: Next iPad likely to include camera”, published August 3, 2010 10:47 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Apple.

John Public surmises, is possibly what is surging the sales of the Apple iPad and its competitor tablets, all chasing the White Whale that is the Apple iPad, leading Molly Wood, Executive Editor to declare that Comcast and DirectTV are effectively staring death in the face as per video CNET Buzz Report, aired Thursday July 1st 2010 by Molly Wood, Executive Editor, CNET News.

This means Netbook and Laptop prices will surely fall……….and the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers CLARO, LIME and Digicel and their yet-to-be-launched WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband and its associated devices indeed look to become expensive paperweight.

This as people with Netbooks purchased abroad end up using Dekal Wireless here in Jamaica with their already pre-installed Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modems, the need for a modem purchase being negated by the comfort of being in an Internet Café with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n). London bridge is indeed falling down for the Telecom Providers………my fair lady…………

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