My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel and WiMax 4G Mobile - Back to the Future as NetFlix Expands

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Digicel and WiMax 4G Mobile - Back to the Future as NetFlix Expands

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

Albert Einstein, Interview December 1930

In August 2010AD, approximately nine (9) months ago, Telecom Provider Digicel launched their Broadband 4G Mobile Service based on WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e), a launch in anticipation of which I wrote a speculative article on Wednesday May 12th 2010AD entitled “Digicel and the up and coming WiMax launch - blowing in the wind”.

Back then in 2010AD, I had suspected Telecom Provider Digicel EDGE Modem Dongle was a precursor to the coming of their WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e) Network as stated in my follow up article on Friday June 11th 2010AD entitled “Digicel EDGE Modem - Report on the testrun for Digicel Broadband”.

A brief History and expectation article followed on Wednesday June 29th 2010, confirming the launch month as being August 2010 as stated in my blog article entitled “Digicel and WiMaX - Great Expectations Part 1”. My blog article entitled “Digicel and WiMax - Mars Attack” followed up with more details

The much touted superfast Broadband Network was met with much expectation by many with 10MBps downloading and streaming. Telecom Provider Digicel has now hit a milestone, with 25% of the Wireless Broadband Market achieved in less than nine (9) months as stated in the article “Digicel captures 25 per cent of the Ja broadband market in less than a year”, published Friday, July 15, 2011 BY AL EDWARDS, The Jamaica Observer.

Looks like I was right on the money about the EDGE Modem Dongle being a test run for 4G Modem Dongles, as they did later go on to launch with a combination of CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) and Modem Dongles!

Digicel's Director of 4G Broadband James McElvanna spoke of their market success, quote: “We are seeing that Jamaicans are very data hungry. Our statistics are showing that Jamaicans are downloading on average 12 gigabytes a month. Now when you compare that with Clearwire who are one of the largest mobile wireless operators in the US, their subscribers are downloading about 7 gigabytes per month. You can therefore see there is an appetite for broadband in this country and that is why we will continue to see the growth.”

Telecom Provider Digicel’s success has been partly due to the fact that despite the competition from Dekal Wireles, their offer of unlimited downloading has won over many customers. To quote Digicel CEO Mark Linehan: “The base is growing every day and it is being bolstered by both corporate and residential customers. In April Mona School of Business did a survey that put Digicel 4G at 22 per cent of the market. Three months on that has moved to 25 per cent. The more savvy the customer becomes with data, whether it be downloading movies or surfing YouTube, their appetite becomes stronger and we have to meet their requirements hence the expansion of the network”.

Their competition still remains to show itself as I had anticipated in flush of blog articles in August 2010AD criticizing their lack of handsets with WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e) and the fact that any handsets coming have Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) support, giving Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks Dekal Wireless a leg up in terms of prices and services:

  1. Digicel and Wimax 4G Mobile - the Great Australian Outback
  2. Digicel and WiMax 4G Mobile - The remains of the Day
  3. Digicel and WiMax 4G Mobile - The Three Musketeers
  4. Digicel and Wimax 4G Mobile - Gorillas in the Mist
  5. Digicel and WiMax 4G Mobile - The Phantom Menace
  6. Digicel and WiMax 4G Mobile - The Enemy of my Enemy is my friend 
These traffic increases are most likely heavy streaming and downloading, mainly of Digital Music and Video. Unlimited downloading may be used for mainly movies and burning CD’s and DVD’s, in effect suggesting Telecom Provider Digicel may be fostering Digital Music and Video piracy, despite their Customer Contract as stated in my blog article entitled “LTE vs WiMax 4G - Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors”.

Telecom Provider Digicel, like Telecom Provider LIME, also has plans to expand their 4G footprint with a launch of a HSDPA+ Release 7 Network into the wider Caribbean to catch US and EU tourists eager to visit yet stay connected as stated in my blog article entitled “Of ATC Strikes and Digicel 3G+ Upgrades - Pushing Tin in Eerie, Indiana” and the article “LIME and American Tourist Data Avalanche - The US$80 Million Dollar CannonBall Run”.

Their foray into Cloud Backup Services, expected to mature into other Cloud Based Services come this Fourth Quarter of 2011AD, is hotly being anticipated by a few SME’s willing to save on the cost of hosting their own Servers as suggested in my blog article entitled “Digicel Cloud Backup Service and future Cloud-Based Services - V.S Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas” and my Geezam blog article entitled “Digicel’s Cloud Backup Services – A deep Analysis”.

Netflix, a Cloud-based streaming service, is slated to set up shop in the Caribbean quite soon as my blog article entitled “Netflix coming to Latin America - Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer” suggests and may take advantage of Telecom Provider Digicel Cloud backup Services.

A cruel irony, as Netflix and Net2Vu may be using Telecom Provider Digicel and even Triple Play Provider FLOW’s Cloud-Based Service to run their business in the Caribbean to compete against them, especially Triple Play Provider FLOW Digital cable offerings as suggested in my blog article entitled “FLOW, IPTV and the coming of Net2Vu - Johnny Mnemonic” and “Netflix coming to Latin America - Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer”.

The average downloading figure of 17GB per month definitely set to get higher once Netflix streaming makes its presence felt in Latin American. This includes Jamaica, where the Broadcasting Commission has now begun issuing IPTV Licenses, effectively protection for IPTV streaming companies such as Netflix against:

  1. Throttling by the Wireless and Wired Broadband Services being provided by Jamaican Telecom Providers
  2. Protection of Copyright of Content Providers from other IPTV and Free-to-Air Radio and Television  services illegal streaming/rebroadcasting their content
  3. Illegitimate IPTV Streaming Services that are bound to spring up in the coming competitive environment

Other possible Cloud-Based Services include:

  1. Radio Station and Music Streaming as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled The Music Industry and the Cloud – Streaming Radio Nirvana
  2. MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds” 
Thus it is hoped as Telecom Provider Digicel’s Market share increases, that the other Telecom Providers, namely Telecom Provider LIME and Triple Play Provider FLOW will provide their Broadband Platforms unhindered and unfettered access to these coming IPTV Services such as Netflix. This as the 4G expansion as chronicled in my Geezam blog article entitled “LIME, Digicel and FLOW – Leading the Global 4G Adoption Curve” continues, Back to the Future (1985) Style.


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