My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Flow at odds with LIME over Cross-Network rates for Fixed Line - Total Recall of the coming Importance of Triple Play Services

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Flow at odds with LIME over Cross-Network rates for Fixed Line - Total Recall of the coming Importance of Triple Play Services

As Jamaicans revel in the price drops in Cross-Network, International and by extension On-Net Calling Rates brought on by the new interim Telecom Regulation powers of the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) as noted in my blog article entitled “OUR's JA$5.00 Cross Network Flat Rate ratified by Judge Ingrid Mangatal  - GOJ's Telecoms Tax applied and Digicel's victory in FTC Case assured”, another battle is simmering to boil.

This as Telecom Provider LIME albeit lowering its Cross-Connection Rates to other Networks to JA$6.99 as noted 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” is not playing fair an in fact is being "hypocritical" according to  President and CEO of FLOW Michelle “Dallas” English. Fixed Line Networks, ironically, are still experiencing higher termination Rates than Mobile.

An irony, as traditionally, Fixed Line Landline, basically Copper-based POTS (Plain Old Telephone Systems) are usually cheaper than Mobile. The reasoning is that Mobile customer pay extra for their Prepaid and Postpaid packages due to the fact that they can receive phone calls as long as the Telecom Provider has GSM (Global System Mobile) Network coverage in the area.

Fixed Line, as the name implies, has calls routed to customers who are in a fixed location at all times. Combined with the fact that the facilities to route calls are based on Routing Tables based on the fixed location of the customers UE (User Equiptment) and not having to track the location of your Mobile phone all the time using Mobile triangulation as described in my blog article entitled “Mobile Triangulation without GPS - A solution to crime under out noses” and the irony becomes clear.

That is, in Jamaica, since Sunday July 15th 2012AD, on that historic day, it has now become cheaper to call a Mobile phone than a Fixed Line phone, a truly incredible paradigm shift that has occurred worldwide that has finally reached Jamaica. So one would have expected the same price cuts to trickle down even to the Fixed Line Mobile and Landline business!

Even more ironic, Triple Play Provider FLOW calls, which are effectively VoIP Calls on their DOCSIS 2.0 based Digital Cable Network, are still being charged a “transit” fee of JA$0.13 per minute as per the article “Flow joins telecoms battle”, published Friday, July 27, 2012 BY PAUL RODGERS Business Editor, The Jamaica Observer.

According to President and CEO of FLOW Michelle “Dallas” English this “transit” cost on calls is still a problem as:

1.      FLOW Landline customers are being overcharged for calling LIME Landline
2.      Calls from FLOW Landline to Mobile phones still incur a “transit” fee as they are still being routed through Telecom Provider LIME’s Landline Network MGW to then go to their Mobile MGW.

A mathematical breakdown of the problem which President and CEO of FLOW Michelle “Dallas” English refers to as being “hypocritical” is thus required to understand this problem. This as it has implications for Fixed Line Service Providers soon to set up shop in Jamaica, as 100MBps LTE (Long Term Evolution) as described in my blog article entitled “Phillip Paulwell allocates 700Mhz and Fiber Optic License for LTE - Broadcasters effectively on notice for Digital Switch Over” is good enough Backhaul Services for persons wishing to get into the Fixed Line Services.

Ditto too Dekal Wireless, who may upon achieving islandwide coverage with their Municipal Wi-Fi Network, opt to also expand their Fixed Line Services as explained in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers 4G vs Wi-Fi Calling - Galaxy Rangers”.

Telecom Provider LIME charges FLOW Landline customer a transit fee through their Landline Network as explained above of JA$0.13 per minute. Triple Play Provider FLOW then charges its customers JA$0.95 per minute to make calls to LIME Landline Networks. Thus the full cost of a call from FLOW Landline to LIME Landline is JA$1.08 per minute. Add on 26% worth of margins and taxes and that comes to JA$1.37 per minute.

Interestingly, Telecom Provider LIME charges a Rates of JA$3.40 for its customer to call FLOW Landline; a cost most likely due to a higher termination Rate Tariff by Triple Play Provider FLOW to make back lost revenue from calls to Telecom Provider LIME’s Mobile Network and Fixed Line Mobile and Landline Networks.

Thus explaining the complaints of President and CEO of FLOW Michelle “Dallas” English of not making money on LIME Calls, which account for 15% of all calls terminating on FLOW Landline Network, quote: “I make virtually nothing on LIME calls”!

In effect the same ring-fencing tactics that was being used by Telecom Provider Digicel in its ten (10) year campaign for Mobile Dominance in Jamaica as noted in my blog article entitledCLARO vs Digicel - Cross-Network Flat Rate Calling and MNP Cometh. Surprising but true, even to this day, now seven (7) years since Triple Play Provider FLOW’s debut in the Jamaican market!

This in effect means that calls from FLOW Landline customers are still being routed to the MGW (Media Gateway) Switch for LIME’s Landline Fixed Line Landline Network via dedicated DTI (Digital Trunk Interface) T1’s and being routed unto their Mobile Network like a regular POTS Calls to terminate on their Mobile MGW.

I remember this problem, as Digicel had a similar complaint against the then C&W Jamaica Limited when they had to interconnect to our PTSN back in 2001AD when I worked there as a Network Maintenance Technician. This was due to the fact that the then C&W did not have the facilities in place to connect DTI (Digital Trunk Interface) cross connections from Local Networks only for:

1.      International Call from the USA, Canada and the UK
2.      Cross Network Calls between its Mobile Network, which back then was a TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) Network built by Canadian Telecom Equiptment Supplier Nortel and Landline Networks

After all, being a monopoly makes you somewhat complacent, especially technology-wise. It was for that reason that the new GSM Network was launched in 2002AD. This upgrade C&W Jamaica used to install the following:

1.      A new MGW to handle Cross Connections from other Local Networks to their Mobile Network
2.      A new company Carrier Services Ltd, that handles interconnecting other Local and Foreign Networks to their Mobile and Fixed Line Landline and Mobile Networks

C&W Jamaica Limited up until their upgrade in 2002AD only had connectivity to other Local Networks via their DMS100/200 Gateway Switch (the MGW in this case) at Duke Street built by Canadian Telecom Equiptment Provider Nortel. Thus C&W Jamaica Limited really had no choice but to eventually get new equiptment in place to connect DTI’s and also upgrade their TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access).

An upgrade which they did under the guise of launching a new GSM Network back in 2002AD via my suggested idea of bfree and bMobile as chronicles in my blog article entitled “Google and Apple - Case to point on Public and Diplomatic Relations”.

President and CEO of FLOW Michelle “Dallas” English (….think of the hit TV show “Dallas”!) is making it a point to call a spade a spade and is “talk up di ting dem” in a complaint interview at The Jamaica Observer entitled “Flow joins telecoms battle”, published Friday, July 27, 2012 BY PAUL RODGERS Business Editor, The Jamaica Observer.

Triple Play Provider FLOW have invested an eye-popping US$30 billion over the next five (5) years in Jamaica as mentioned in the article “Flow to invest another J$30b in five years”, published Friday February 3, 2012 by Steven Jackson, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This to build out their faster DOCSIS 3.0 300MBps Cable Broadband Internet and push 3D HDTV Channel Service by 2017AD as deduced in my blog article entitled “FLOW goes 3D HDTV as Netflix cometh - XFinity follow-on indicates Streaming's Deep Impact” and the Geezam Blog article entitled “FLOW goes 3D HDTV et al – Netflix to make FLOW Extinct”.

Fixed Line Mobile and Landline, facilitated by Digital Cable Triple Play Services and FTTH (Fiber to The House) Services, is expected to see growth in the next three (3) years. This as more people begin to settle into retirement in Jamaica and desire to have reliable Telecom Services, inclusive of Fixed Line, Mobile Broadband and Mobile Postpaid services.

More specifically its more modern counterparts in the form of Digital Triple Play Cable Services such as those provided by Triple Play Provider FLOW and the coming FTTH (Fiber to The Home) services provided by Telecom Provider LIME as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME goes FTTH like Verizon's FiOS - Free ADSL after FTTH Mass Adoption”.

Telecom Provider LIME has pledged to have fixed in order to facilitate true Flat Rate Cross-Network Calling in line with the OUR’s Ruling. But with Telecom Provider Digicel calling for what is effectively LNP (Landline Number Portability) and not just MNP (Mobile Number Portability) as noted in my blog article entitled “Digicel calls for MNP for Fixed Line - LIME's Brave Homefone Xpress coming with Telecoms Tax and Flat Rate Tariff”, FLOW may have to wait a little longer for Telecom Provider LIME to comply.

This as MNP means the loss of their lucrative Fixed Line Landline Network at a time when 80% of their revenue comes from Fixed Line, mainly PBX (Private Branch Exchange), both the older Nortel Based Meridian Systems as well as the VoIP (Voice over IP) based Avaya Systems as per the article “Avaya, LIME partner in communications solution for SMEs”, published Sunday, July 03, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

To make matters worse, Telecom Provider LIME is yet to transition its dwindling Residential Landline Xpress as described in my blog article entitled “LIME Landline Rental Increase and HomeFone XPress - The Dead Zone is the Sum of All Fears. Not to mention finish testing and then deploying its FTTH Network islandwide as noted in my blog article entitled “LIME goes FTTH like Verizon's FiOS - Free ADSL after FTTH Mass Adoption”.

Hence, despite the growing market for Mobile Broadband and the current focus on the Rate drops for Voice Calling over Mobile Networks, Fixed Line Mobile and Landline is still relevant and will be more so going forward into the future.  A future that Triple Play Provider FLOW will be a part of, as it’s a Total Recall (2012) for Jamaicans as it relates to the coming Importance of Triple Play Services once their islandwide Network is completed in 2017AD!


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