My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: MNP and LNP delayed to Monday June 22nd 2015 - Technical Problem is Customer Knowledge, Misdmatched Demographics and no Unlocked Quad-Band smartphones

Friday, June 5, 2015

MNP and LNP delayed to Monday June 22nd 2015 - Technical Problem is Customer Knowledge, Misdmatched Demographics and no Unlocked Quad-Band smartphones

“With the new system …that number is yours. It allows consumers to be in control of the number and gives the consumer power over the provider”

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell speaking about the extension of the implementation of MNP and LNP during a meeting with Telecom Providers at the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining

It has happened yet again, despite the best efforts of Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell.

The Telecom Providers have yet again declared that the implementation MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) had been delayed as reported in the article “Extension Granted For Number Portability”, published June 1, 2015 By O. Rodger Hutchinson, The Jamaica Information Service.    

Instead, the Telecom Providers have been granted a twenty one (21) day extension to the date Monday June 22nd 2015.

This date was announced when Minister Paulwell met with Telecom Providers at the Big House aka the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, where their representatives had argued for the implementation of an extension to complete testing on the integration of the NPA (Number Portability Administrator) into their systems.

That NPA is Porting Access B.V. of the Netherlands as announced on Friday March 13th 2015 as per my blog article entitled “Jamaica has selected Porting Access B.V. for NPA – How NPAS will provision a TPRR based CRDB from the Land of Windmills and Carrier-Free SIM Cards”. 

Minister Paulwell spoke on the role of Porting Access B.V. of the Netherlands in providing their services as a NPA, quote: “Their role will improve the management and co­ordination of all activities relating to the central database and the central order handling system, which are the key components in supporting number portability”.

And as usual, the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) Opposition Spokesman on Science, ICT & Digital Society Development, Dr Andrew Wheatley, has raised Cain as it relates to the delay without adding much to the discussion as to why the delay occurred as noted in the article “Wheatley Bashes Paulwell On Missing Number Portability Deadline”, Published Monday June 1, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

He is however right on one point; this is the fifth delay for MNP and LNP since it was last delayed until December 2014 and set for May 2015 by Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson as declared in my blog article entitled “MNP and LNP coming in May 2015 - MNP and LNP in Jamaica delayed as Sheriff Julian Robinson caught in a Telecom Providers Standoff”.

So what are these technical difficulties that the Telecom Providers are experiencing? Simply put it's really a case of not enough smartphones in Jamaica.

Telecom Providers delay MNP, LNP – Unwilling to unlock Smartphone for mismatched Demographic

Despite the massive sales of Smartphone by Telecom Provider Digicel, with almost 1/3 or 1 million customers now having purchased a smartphone as per my analysis in my blog article entitled “Digicel’s Million Man Smartphone Army – How Alcatel One Touch Dual-SIM is a setup for MNP, LNP Smartphone Gamechanger”, not many Jamaicans have a Quad-Band smartphone.

That massive sale I'm referring to involved the DL750, the DL800 and the DL900 in December of 2014 as chronicled in my blog article entitled “JA$6,950 DL750 and JA$8,250 DL800 on Sale at Digicel – Alcatel One Touch Pop C1 as ZTE Force Awakens and Alcatel’s Empire Strikes Back”.

For this reason, not enough Jamaican have a Digicel or LIME smartphone to really take advantage of the service. Digicel and LIME realize this.

This is why LIME frequently has sales and Digicel has now implemented a Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme, exchanging old phone for Loyalty Points towards a new Smartphone as reported in my blog article entitled “Digicel's Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme - How Digicel benefits from Trading Old Cellphones for Smartphones with Jasmine for Plants vs Zombies upgrade”.

Also, among those that have a smartphone may do not have a Quad-Band smartphone or the money to unlock their Smartphone to take advantage of the offer.

Most likely too, the majority of the smartphone purchases were by Millennials (ages 18 to 28), as Generation X (ages 29 to 45) and older people (ages 46 to 69) possibly had no interest in smartphones, being as they only text or make phone calls.

The Millennials who have a smartphone most likely use free calling plans being offered by the Telecom Providers such as Digicel Zero as described in my blog article entitled “Digicel launches Digicel Zero - How @Digicel_jamaica is testing VoLTE vs @WhatsApp's Free Voice Calling to boost smartphone sales”.

LIME, meanwhile offers low cost smartphones, flat-rate Calling and a very slow rollout of "4G" Wireless Broadband, which is really HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) or

Because Millennials might not necessarily have a landline or any desire to switch to a competing Network and the Generation X and older Adults might not have an interest in owning a Smartphone, there is a mismatch in demographics as it relates to who would be most likely to take advantage of MNP and LNP based on their financial situation.

This demographic mismatch prompted Minister Paulwell to request that the Telecom Provider to offer unlocked smartphones or make the knowledge of how to unlock the smartphone more widely available as argued in my blog article entitled “How Jamaican can access MNP and LNP by Monday June 1st 2015 – Windfall for Jamaican smartphone unlockers as Quad-Band smartphones and Carrier-Free SIM Cards Required”.

Also, the lack of general interest in the technical details of their Smartphone means many of them may not even know what a Quad-Band smartphone is or the advantage of having one in order to access MNP and LNP Services.

In summary, it all boils down to a lack of smartphones being purchased by the right demographic that may be knowledgeable and interested enough to even care about MNP and LNP in the first place.

Also, smartphone prices are still too high with the current Digicel's Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme and ongoing sales meeting the customer half-way in terms of creating more options for customer to upgrade to a Quad-Band smartphone.

Technical Problem is Knowledge – Unlocked phones needed for MNP, LNP and NANP Number Ranges

I suspect the above mentioned points are the “technical problem” that the Telecom Providers is having, as they have had ample time to integrate the NPA Porting Access B.V. of the Netherlands into their Telecom Systems.

So it comes down to a matter of give and take; Telecom Provider either have to start selling unlocked smartphones or unlocking smartphones on request in order for the MNP and LNP Facility to be used.

With that unlocking comes the possibility that the customer can run off to another Telecom Network with their Smartphone they originally purchased from them. But this is a risk the Telecom Providers have to endure and is really a reflection of the degree of loyalty that the customers have to a particular Telecom Provider’s Brand.

Otherwise, Jamaicans will be unable to get access to additional Number Ranges from the NANP (North American Numbering Plan) that would allow Competition in the Telecom Sector to come to Jamaica as explained in my blog article entitled “OUR applies for new Area Code for Jamaica - Competition in Telecoms in the coming Hunger Game Catching Fire of Mobile Computing”.

Telecom Provider might not want competition. But without MNP, they cannot expand their Networks to add on new devices that need to use additional Station codes. So despite the fear of opening the floodgates to competition in Jamaica, their continued stalling is more a case of cutting off your own nose to spite your own face.   

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