My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why Flow Jamaica re-hiring 150 Ericsson Techs hints at FTTH in 2016

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Why Flow Jamaica re-hiring 150 Ericsson Techs hints at FTTH in 2016

“Ericsson has been a good partner; however, we at Flow needed to have control of the services to meet our customer commitment objectives”

FLOW Jamaica in a Press Release stating that they were rehiring some 150 Ericsson Technicians

FLOW Jamaica, formerly LIME Jamaica, is recanting on a decision it had made back in 2013.

They had rehired some of their Technicians for fixed-line maintenance in November 2015 as reported in the article “Flow goes insourcing route; employs 150 former Ericsson staff”, published Friday, December 25, 2015 by Richard Browne, The Jamaica Observer.     

These 150 employees were working with Swedish communications company Ericsson. Good to note LIME Jamaica had made them redundant as explained in my blog article entitled “LIME outsources Network Maintenance to Ericsson”, from which Ericsson had hired three hundred (300).

Now two (2) year and one name change later, they've taken back half of that number, specifically those with specialized training in the following areas:

1.      Outside plant construction and maintenance
2.      Network maintenance
3.      Customer premises installation and repairs
4.      Workforce management

Good to note that this included Tier 2 technical support for their recently upgraded FLOW Internet services launched Tuesday December 22nd 2015. Plus FLOW Jamaica may not have had much of a choice.

Such skilled and specialized employees with prior knowledge of their Network are not easily found in Jamaica as noted in my Geezam blog article Jamaica facing an acute Shortage of Qualified Technicians and Engineers for upcoming Projects”.

These speed increases sees customers getting speed increases on their Broadband offerings at no extra cost as detailed in the article “FLOW broadband customers get free upgrade”, published Wednesday, December 23, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

The rehiring of these field technicians means that they'll have enhanced capability to respond to faults reports on their FLOW Broadband service.

The strategy seems to be working as since November 2015, when this action had taken place, they've seen a reduction in complaints, to quote Senior Director in charge of customer experience for Flow, Ronnie Thompson: “We are seeing improvement. Complaints are being reduced… overall our performance is trending in the right direction”.

So does this point to some future product launch against Digicel Play as I'd predicted?

FLOW Jamaica rehiring 150 Ericsson employees - Gearing up to reduce spike in Cable TV Complaints

It could be.

Digicel by launching Digicel Play has beaten FLOW Jamaica by becoming the first Telecom Provider to launch a FTTH Service as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “How Digicel Play will spread the Gospel of Fiber Optic this Christmas”.

My explanation might get a bit complicated, so bear with me.

LIME Jamaica had officially adopted the name FLOW Jamaica since the Caribbean wide rebranding and relaunch on Friday August 31st 2015, relinquishing many of their former contract under the name “LIME Jamaica”, including Ericsson.

CWC (Cable and Wireless Communication), FLOW Jamaica's parent company, had been acquired by Liberty Global for US$5.5 billion in October 2015 as reported in my blog article entitled “US$5.5 billion Liberty Global purchase of CWC's FLOW Jamaica - Why Digicel Play will truly Liberate Cable Subscribers”.

However, they've also inherited many of the previous company FLOW's problems, seeing a 74% increase in customer complaints and problems in October 2015 as reported in my blog article entitled “74 Percent increase in FLOW Jamaica problems to OUR - FLOW's infrastructure problems as Digicel Fibre is coming”. 

By rehiring these 150 specialized technicians from Ericsson, they're most likely to have them focus on the ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) upgrade, while retraining some of the to assist the former “FLOW” technicians with the increasing problems on their Cable Network.

Apparently, there’s more to this than meets the eye, as with the Liberty Global, they now have money to spend!

FLOW Jamaica to launch FTTH and 4G LTE - Ronnie Thompson drops a big hint for 2016

But my sources on the ground tell me that this isn't about just upgrading and maintaining ADSL and FLOW's Cable Network.

Three (3) sources close to FLOW Jamaica have tipped with information suggesting that FLOW's actually planning to launch Fiber Optic Network upgrade to rival by Digicel Play's FTTH (Fiber to the house) services as described in my blog article entitled “Digicel Play launches FTTH Network - How FLOW Jamaica and Liberty Global Empire Will Strike Back”. 

So are my Call Center sources information correct? I think they may be on to something, based on another statement that Senior Director in charge of customer experience for Flow, Ronnie Thompson made, quote: “Now the market has changed, [the company wants to] control all our touch points. We pretty much control that aspect of our business. Certainly we are now in a much better place to improve our service offering to our customers. We can now deliver in a much more forthright way”.

That's right, folks!!

FLOW Jamaica has plans to improve their service offerings! His statement combined with the information from my tipsters suggests that FLOW Jamaica may soon announce the launch of their own FTTH Network as well as 4g LTE (Long Term Evolution) Wireless Broadband in 2016 as suggested in Kelroy’s Geezam blog article entitled “Flow to upgrade Fiber Internet Service + islandwide 4G and LTE coming soon”.

But wait, there’s more.

While scoping out more evidence to back up my three (3) tipsters info, I came across these post on FLOW Jamaica's Twitter on Tuesday December 22nd 2015.

The use of the colour blue with action streak to an artiste friend of mine at Edna Manley, suggest a much faster than normal, almost near light speed.  Could this be a herald for a Fiber Optic service? If it is, then it is just in time as FLOW Jamaica has to upgrade.

5G will only be four (4) years away in 2020 according to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) 5G IMT-2020 Roadmap as detailed in my blog article entitled “ITU publishes 5G IMT-2020 Roadmap - Why US Telecom Providers, @Digicel_Jamaica and @LIMEJamaica like to travel off the beaten Path”. 

Expect more hiring’s by FLOW Jamaica, possibly in Customer Care as they've got a Call Center contract with Grace Kennedy as noted in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Centers - GraceKennedy’s Call Center at CSO to open November 2015”.

This initial 150 re-hiring of former technicians from Ericsson is just a start as FLOW Jamaica ramps up to launch FTTH and 4G LTE in 2016.

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