My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel's Sweetest Deal and Digicel Mobile 4G Launched - Challenge to LIME Talk EZ heralds Postpaid, MRSI via MNP and Cashless Society Renaissance

Friday, July 13, 2012

Digicel's Sweetest Deal and Digicel Mobile 4G Launched - Challenge to LIME Talk EZ heralds Postpaid, MRSI via MNP and Cashless Society Renaissance

It’s been four (4) weeks since Telecom Provider Digicel responded to Telecom Provider LIME Talk EZ Plan with their double-whammie “Sweetest Deal” Plan as stated in the article Digicel goes $2.89”, published Friday, June 22, 2012, The Jamaica Observer and described in my Geezam blog article entitled Digicel launches 4G Mobile and JA$2.89 Sweeter in a bid - Jamaican Voice + Data Summer Wars”.

Less than five days later, Telecom Provider Digicel launched Digicel’s US$33 million 4G Mobile with a flashy Media Blitz at Victoria Pier on Ocean Boulevard near to their future home on Wednesday June 27th 2012AD. This was reported in no less than three (3) articles from both local newspapers:

1.      4G Mobile lands in Jamaica”, published Wednesday, June 27, 2012, The Jamaica Observer
2.      Digicel Launches 4G Mobile Downtown, Published: Wednesday June 27, 2012, byDavina Henry, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner
3.      Digicel Unleashes 4G Mobile”, Published Wednesday June 27, 2012,The Jamaica Gleaner

But albeit their response has been on point in solidarity with customer demand for lower On-Net and Cross Network Voice Calling Rates, all is not as it seems in the Telecoms World. This as the whole she-bang has raised additional questions from the Public, with few answers forthcoming.
The OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) has set rates at JA$5.00 as stated in the article OUR sets interim termination Call rates at $5”, which may go lower come Sunday July 15th 2012AD.

The OUR has been given the power to regulate Cross Network Calling rates by the new Telecommunications Act that came into effect in May 2012AD.

They were also given interim powers to oversee the coming implementation of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) by December 2012AD as stated in the article Paulwell promises number portability by December”, published Sunday, June 17, 2012 BY CONRAD HAMILTON Senior staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

This is a fulfillment of the promise by then Prime Minister Bruce Golding in 2011AD as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “New Telecom Act Coming for Jamaica – Providers surprised with their Own Regulator”.

Digicel however, has challenged the OUR right to be the interim administrator of Cross-Network and International Voice Calling Rates and has actually voiced objection to the calling rates since February 2012AD as stated in the article LIME, Digicel at odds over OUR's proposed $5 termination rate”, published Sunday, February 19, 2012, The Jamaica Observer.

More on the outcome of their challenge in a follow up article. In the meantime, the “Sweetest Deal” Promotion is their best bet against the coming horde that is Telecom Provider LIME.
On the surface, Telecom Provider Digicel’s “Sweetest Deal” Promotion appears quite appealing:

1.      JA$2.89 per minute for on-Net and International Voice Calls for Digicel Prepaid
2.      JA$6.99 per minute for Cross Network Voice Calls to LIME and Fixed Line Landlines

If you have already subscribed to JA$8.99 Flat Rate Calling Plan on either Prepaid as described in the Geezam blogarticle entitled “Digicel Introduces One Rate Calling for $8.99 in Jamaica or the Anywhere Calling Plan for Postpaid as per my other follow-up article “Digicel intros the Anywhere Plan for Postpaid” you cannot subscribe to this offer. You still get to enjoy Gimme 5 offers, but significantly scaled down with the following caveats:

1.      Per Minute billing applies
2.      Send three (3) on-net Text get the next 10 free
3.      Talk for five (5) minutes on a local call get the next ten (10) free
4.      Talk for five (5) minutes on an International Call get the next twenty five (25) minutes free
5.      Top up with JA$200 credit get 1 hour Free calling between the hours of 9:00pm to 5:59am

Assuming people can read and comprehend and are not unduly caught up with the hype, many Jamaicans are not going to accept this. Gimme 5, which Telecom Provider Digicel and introduced in 2008AD to counteract the wily new Telecom Provider CLARO, has become a staple among Jamaicans trying to save on Mobile phone calling.

Digicel’s “Sweetest Deal” Promotion is not even a permanent promotion. Worse, it throws back to the days of per minute billing. For those with short memories or who were just born yesterday, per minute Billing had been introduced originally to Jamaica by Telecom Provider Digicel in 2001AD.

1999AD to 2001AD was in the pre-deregulated Telecom Sector days before Minister Phillip Paulwell, then Minister of energy Mining and Telecommunications had liberalized the Telecom sector with the groundbreaking Telecommunications Act of 2000 legislation.

So expect to see a slow and steady stream of defectors to Telecom Provider LIME attracted by their Talk EZ plans as described in my blog article entitled “LIME's new TALK EZ Plan drops Cross Network Calling to JA$2.99 - Digicel's Game of Thrones vs LIME Return of the King” and my Geezam blog article entitled LIME drops Cross Network Calling rate to JA$6.99 to kick off a 3 year Battle for Mobile Market Dominance”.

The more significant development, which seems to be getting very little Press time in either Local Newspapers is Telecom Provider Digicel’s 4G Mobile. It’s a significant development as it indicates finally the true reason why Telecom Provider Digicel had acquired CLARO Jamaica via swap with America Movil for Digicel Honduras and Digicel El Salvador.

The spectrum licenses and 3G licenses are being used to ramp up to a REAL 4G Network come 2013AD as surmised in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle”and my blog article entitled “Digicel to shut down CLARO's Voice Network in HSDPA+ Push - The Louisiana Purchase of Spectrum”.

I say “REAL” as just like the last time in  August 2010AD when Telecom Provider Digicel launched their 4G Broadband powered by WiMaX IEEE 802.16d, e as stated in the article  “Digicel's 4G: A huge technology wave for J'cans”, published Sunday, August 22, 2010 BY ALICIA ROACHE Sunday Finance reporter, The Jamaica Observer, there was a debate raging as it relates to what defines “4G”.

According to the UN (United Nations) Telecoms body the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) 4G Working Group back in 2010AD, 4G was defined as thus:

1.      100MBps data rates between UE (User Equipment) and servers, (possibly shared between upload and download?)
2.      The use of Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM), to which WiMaX IEEE 802.16d already complies.

Back then WiMaX IEEE 802.16d,e, 4G Broadband, did not conform to this standard. Later on however, the ITU, apparently under pressure from Telecom Providers unwilling to spend money on upgrades, used their political pull to get the ITU to change its mind and allow even HSDPA+ Release 7 to be declared 4G as stated in the article “Has '4G' lost its meaning?”, published January 18, 2011 4:00 AM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET Newsand  “4G: What's in a name?”, published October 21, 2010 12:42 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

Later on in October 2010AD,LIME’s Regional Vice-President for Legal, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Camille Taylor Facey sought to clear the air by taking Telecom Provider Digicel tothe FTC (Fair Trading Commission) on the grounds that this was false advertisingas stated in the article4G Quarrel”, published Wednesday October 27, 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Digicel responded in November 2010AD using the argument that based on the legal precedence set by the ITU among Telecoms providers also falsely advertising their WiMaX IEEE 802.16d, e and HSDPA+ Networks in North American as 4G, their US$22 million Network was also 4G, albeit after the fact as stated in the article  “Digicel sets the record straight on 4G”, published Friday, November 05, 2010 By Al Edwards, The Jamaica Observer.

Thus since 2010AD the consumer was confused and is  even more confused even to this day two (2) years later as to what 4G speeds really mean. Worse, competitor Telecom Provider LIME “4G” Network is not really 4G either but a faster 3G with lower Data Rates as of Tuesday May 1st  2012AD as described in my blog article entitled LIME launches XL Value Campaign and slashes 3G Mobile Prepaid Data come May 1 - Shadows of the Old Republic as LIME does Baby Cham's Wine”.

Clearly BOTH Local Telecom Providers do not like the fact that Data Services is spectrally inefficient and are thus doing everything possible to deceive customers in accepting HSDPA+ Release 5 Speeds with a best effort of 3.6 MBps as 4G. This is effectively HSDPA+ Release 5 as described in the table listing in my Geezam blog article entitled How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle”.

It may seem faster on your Mobile device, the clever ploy in Telecom Provider Digicel’s marketing strategy. But even that is hampered by sub-par Mobile device hardware that makes surfing the Internet on your Tablet, Mobile phone or e-reader still a crawling experience and not high-speed Internet as promised by the standards as set originally by the ITU. Thus the Jamaica Public is aware, just not complaining as it’s not a bread-and-butter issue, like taxes or higher fuel prices.

Mobile Broadband is important as not everyone has access to Wired Internet, especially in the Rural parts of Jamaica. Thus my main disappointment with these announced “4G” launches thus far is a lack of announcements on plans to spread Mobile Broadband outside of Kingston, Greater Portmore and the Tourist areas of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

In the meantime, its adoption my Jamaicans will hopeful phase out those “featureless” phones and replace them with a love for smartphones, which already by virtue of their easy access to full-blown websites and online resources such as Google have been shown to improve intelligence as per the analysis of my Geezam blog article entitled StudyBlue reveals Smartphones, Tablets make you smarter – The Big Bang Theory on Google”.

Already the popularity of Blackberrys is waning in Jamaica as second-time purchasers opt for a smartphone as described in my blog article entitled “Blackberry popularity wanes as Jamaicans go smartphones - Android and Apple's Smartphone Revolution” and my Geezam blog article entitled “Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”.

Blackberry is also going into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, a surefire testimony of the love that Americans have for smartphones as noted in my blog article entitled “RIM filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - The Last of the Mohicans Blackberry as Android Borne Supremacy Worldwide Continues”.

This trend towards smartphones spurred by lower On-Net, Cross Network and International Calling rates and more competitive Data Rates will spur the increased adoption of Prepaid, Fixed Landline and Mobile and Mobile Data Services in the next three (3) years as already predicted in my blog article entitled “OUR Records Voice Decline for the Fourth Quarter of 2010 - Postpaid, Data Services and Fixed Line Mobile and Landline Saturday Night Fever for Telecom Providers”.

The competitive pricing along with the ease of swapping afforded by MNP Gaming Postpaid users will also spur a trend towards Dual-SIM Mobile devices among Prepaid Users. Smartphones such as  those made by Florida-based smartphone maker Plum as described in the article Who the heck is Plum Anyway?”, published May 11 2012 6:27 PDT, by Lynn La, CNET Newsreadily come to mind.

This coming MNP is also a precursor to MRSI (Mandatory Registration of Subscriber Information) which will make it much easier for the ISCF (Island Special Constabulary Force) and the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) aka the Jamaican Police to catch criminals as predicted in the following slew of article I’ve written on the subject:

This by using subpoenas and geo-locations and historical Calling Data from the Telecom Provider’s Database or just by simply requesting it over the phone as described in my blog article my blog article entitled “How to Register your SIM Card and get the PUK1 and access Digicel’s Phone Calling Records”.

Additionally, Video Calling will also see a spike in usage, mainly powered by Mobile apps on Google Android smartphones and Apple iPhones such as OoVoo and Skype respectively as stated in my blog article entitledSkype's Ads on Free VoIP heralds coming of Free Mobile VoIP - Video Calls not problem as LIME LTE soon tun up”.

Other industries and VAS (Value Added Services) that would flourish powered by Mobile Broadband include:

1.      An App Economy powered by designing Freemium Video Games as described in my blog article entitledAmazon set to launch smartphone in Fourth Quarter of 2012AD - The App Economy and the Increasing Importance of Digical Content” and my Geezam blog article entitledSmartphones and Apps – Freemium Games are No. 1”.
2.      Mobile Gambling or Gaming Apps from Supreme Ventures as described in in my blog article entitledSupreme Ventures and Blackberry Gambling - Rihanna S&M on the Dark Side of the Moon”.
3.      Smartphones with the titled JCUES (Jamaica Credit Union e-Payment Services) app supported by the partnership between  and Mozido Jamaica to power the idea of Mobile Money for the unbanked and thus transition Jamaica towards the Cashless Society as descried in in my blog article entitled “JCCUL JCUES is put on hold by the BOJ - ePayment setback means Mozido has been Bewitched

In short the real money to be made from lower Voice Service and the common introduction of Data Services is not from the service itself or merely more Postpaid, Fixed Line Landline and Mobile and Mobile Broadband usage within the next three (3) years.

Rather, it’s from the VAS (Value Added Service) that have the potential to tap into e-commerce and thus allow ordinary Jamaicans to make foreign exchange revenue from the Internet in what is essentially an App Economy using Scotia VISA Debit Cards as described in my Geezam blog articleScotiaBank’s VISA Debit Card – Jamaica’s Online E-Commerce Renaissance”.

In short the coming changes in the Telecoms world herald not only the coming of a Telecoms Sector without Prepaid, MRSI (Mandatory Registration of Subscriber Information) under the guise of MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and a Cashless Society by 2015AD. It would also herald a Renaisance for the idea of e-commerce as a means for ordinary Jamaicans to make money from the Internet.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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