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How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 4G Internet using an unlocked 4G LTE Modem Dongle, smartphone or Tablet

Since my article on unlocking a Huawei E1556 Modem dongle as described in How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle went live, interest in our blog has pretty much peaked.

Thus when I went on to write the sequel How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle, I was more than surprised that readers of the Geezam blog made the article No. 1 in terms of traffic to the Geezam blog, based on the weekly rankings on the right column of the blog since January 2012.

It seems an AWFUL lot of Jamaicans were interested to read the article, just so that they could learn how to unlock their 3G devices, as apparently nobody’s crazy about buying Digicel overpriced 3G Modems. This as their Wireless Broadband Network is not really true “4G” as advertised in the Media.

Additionally, there is the matter of cost; after all, just like a cellphone, why buy one when you can get family and friends to send down one from abroad and have it unlocked for free, if you know where to go online? Looks like I might have to start writing article on how to unlock Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet Gadgets as well!

So much so, that it’s now become routine, for those people who know me, even within ACCENT Marketing Limited on the SHARP Account, to often contact me directly on how to unlock their Modem Dongles to use either Digicel or LIME’s 3G Services.

This as more Millennials (ages 18 to 28) are leading the charge towards faster Mobile Internet by chucking away their Blackberrys and migrating toward a 4G LTE capable smart phone as noted in Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Ditto too the adoption of Tablets and e-Readers that are 3G and 4G LTE capable, the adoption of which mainstream Media is yet to write about.

So with Christmas looking mighty fine since the launch of the Google Nexus 7 Tablet, Apple’s Apple iPhone 5  in Kelroy’s article iPhone 5 Announced – Slimmer, Taller and Faster, Apple iPad 4 and Apple iPad Mini whose launch on Tuesday October 23rd 2012 shocked just about everyone and from which I’m still recovering.

Apple is clearly taking the 7” Tablet market seriously. Still, it’s as I had predicted in my article Amazon sells 5.5 million Kindle Fires in Fourth Quarter 2012 – Apple iPad sales drop and plans January Press Event. So popular is the Apple iPad Mini, that it’s currently two (2) week back-ordered till Friday November 2nd  2012, evidence of this strong demand for a smaller Tablet.

The Barbarians were already at Apple’s Gates in the form of the Amazon Kindle Fire, now with a serious near Retina Display, faster Dual-Core Texas Instruments OMAP Processor and 4G LTE upgrade as again featured in Kelroy’s article Amazon Introduces new Kindle Fire HD Family of Tablets. Google Nexus 7 Tablets and Nexus 4 smart phone that went live on Monday October 29th 2012 are a triple threat in a 7” market that’s growing and really deserves its own article.

Don’t forget the almost-forgotten Ultrabooks albeit according to my article How the Apple iPad killed Ultrabooks, Printing and the Mouse as the World Rediscovers Tablets may effectively be a Dead Man Walking!

So expect a lot of people to be making more International Calls as explained in my helpful how-to article How to set up an International Calling Plan for Digicel or LIME Prepaid and Postpaid to have relatives abroad send down a Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet. Or even better for our Banks here in Jamaica, Jamaicans are doing their Christmas shopping online for these tech stocking stuffers this year using their Scotia VISA Debit Card as described in How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online.

Digicel and LIME have 4G: It’s a good look for Christmas

But things and times are slowly changing. Both LIME on Monday March 12th 2012 and Digicel on Friday June 22nd 2012 have since launched their respective “4G” Services as announced in LIME’s 4G Experience Centers challenge the Rise of Dekal Wireless Dragon and Digicel launches “4G” Mobile and JA$2.89 Sweeter Deal in a bid for Prepaid Extinction.

LIME New prices came into effect on Tuesday May 1st 2012 while Digicel came into effect at the launch of their new “4G” Service, which up till that point was only available to Migrated 3G Customers from CLARO as noted in How to get 2G or 3G Internet on your Mobile Phone in Jamaica.

The prices for their “4G” Data Plans are as follows:

LIME Data Plans

LIME Data Plan Duration (Days) Previous Data Cap (MB) Previous Price (JA$) New Data Cap as of May 1st 2012 (MB) New Price as of May 1st 2012 (JA$)
Prepaid 1-Day 1 1000 300.00 500 100.00
Prepaid 7-Day 7 3000 1,250.00 2000 600.00
Prepaid 30-Day 30 3000 3,500.00 3000 2,500.00
Postpaid 30 Day – Casual User 30 3000 * 4000 3,000.00
Postpaid 30 Day – Regular User 30 1000 * 2000 2,000.00

Key:

* – Did not previously exist; they used Prepaid Plans on their Postpaid Devices

Digicel Data Plans

Digicel Data Plans Duration (Days) Previous Data Cap Previous Price (JA$) New Data Cap as of June 22nd 2012 (JA$) New Price as of June 22nd 2012 (JA$)
Digicel Prepaid 2G 30 60MB 650.00
Digicel Prepaid 2G 30 150MB 1600.00
Digicel Prepaid 4G – Light User 1 500MB 300.00 500MB 100.00
Digicel Prepaid 4G – Light User 7 1GB 1500.00 2GB 700.00
Digicel Prepaid 4G –Moderate User 14 2GB 2500.00 ** **
Digicel Prepaid 4G – Heavy User 30 3GB 3500.00 3GB 2,750.00
Digicel Postpaid 4G – Light User 30 *** *** 1GB 1,500.00
Digicel Postpaid 4G –Moderate User 30 *** *** 2GB 2,250.00
Digicel Postpaid 4G –Moderate User 30 *** *** 4GB 3,250.00
Digicel Postpaid 4G – Heavy User 30 *** *** 7GB 5,000.00

Key:

** – Plan Cancelled

*** – Did not previously exist; they used Prepaid Plans on their Postpaid Devices

Note: For both Telecom Providers, accessing the Internet using just Prepaid Credit of Postpaid Minutes alone costs JA$40.00 per Megabyte or JA$0.40 per Kilobyte for people still living on the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution). Also for Digicel Data Plans, the following Overage Charges apply for exceeding the above Data Plans:

  • JA$10.00 for Prepaid
  • JA$15.00 for Postpaid

At first blush, neither LIME or Digicel placed any emphasis on Postpaid, possibly because 95% of the estimated 3.049 million Mobile phone users are Prepaid, with the other 5% being Postpaid according to OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) Statistics comparing the Fourth Quarter of 2010 to the Fourth Quarter of 2009.

This stat may be changing now in 2012, with Postpaid set to see something of a Renaissance thanks to these new Cross Network Rates, especially on Digicel’s Network Digicel intros the Anywhere Plan for Postpaid, marking the beginning of the coming extinction of GSM Prepaid on Digicel as opined in Digicel launches “4G” Mobile and JA$2.89 Sweeter Deal in a bid for Prepaid Extinction.

Also, the Data Caps are tiny when compared to those of our American Counterparts, which are usually in their Teens and higher. Digicel has even scrapped their 14 Day Prepaid Data Plan with a cap of 2GB and upgraded the  7 Day Prepaid Data Plan to 2GB as that time period is just too long a time to stretch 2GB cap! Rather Silly Digicel, which is why fellow blogger Horace in his article Digicel’s Internet Bundle leaves a lot to be desired threw out the Bad Apple at them!

These unrealistic Data Caps are making many Jamaicans who do copious amounts of Web Surfing, the so-called Heavy Users, to wonder if LIME and Digicel are aware that Jamaica’s taste for Higher Speed Data is set to increase as more Jamaicans switch to smartphone as prognosticated in Apple iPhone boosts Jamaican smartphone usage as BB goes Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Thus, the necessary Network upgrades as cited in How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle need to be done to keep pace with the increasing demand. Internet Service usage , both Wired and Wireless have increased 138% to $1.6 billion, a fast increasing 10% fraction of the JA$14 billion earned by the Telecoms Sector  in Jamaica according to more recent statistics that compares the Second Quarter of 2011AD to the corresponding Second Quarter of 2010AD.

We’re still waiting on the Minister of Science, Technology Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell to announce the details of the Spectrum License for the 4G LTE Network and associated Fiber Optic Backhaul announced in Parliament on Tuesday July 31st 2012. This coming Spectrum License is expected to describe the specifications for bidders to build out a the real 100MBps best effort 4G LTE which based on my sources, Huawei, a Telecom Equiptment Provider, is already in Barbados testing among the populace.

Both Services described in my detailed analysis are really a faster 3G as unravelled in my tell-all article How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle.

For more up-to-date information on the Telecom Providers Data Plans, check Digicel’s 4G Data Plans and LIME 4G Data Plans, which LIME refers to honestly as being 3G.

DIY Time: 4G on your Modem Dongle, smartphone or Tablet

So folks it’s time for yet another DIY article on how to Access LIME or Digicel’s 4G Internet using an unlocked 4G LTE Modem Dongle, smartphone or Tablet. If you already read my article How to Unlock your Huawei Modem to work on LIME 3G or Digicel you will realize that aside from DIY unlocking of your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet in my article, many online resources i.e. Google, Youtube, blogs, forums, etc. exist that can aid you to be free of the Telecom Provider Mobile Device Money Train (1995).

They exist and can be found with a bit of patience and searching and offer free assistance in unlocking your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet to work on a Telecom Provider Network here in Jamaica. If you haven’t a single technical bone in your body, the unlocking experts at ChattaBox Jamaica exists as an alternative to you accidentally “bricking” your gadget in a vainglorious attempt to unlock its potential.

Before you begin, make sure that your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet can work here in Jamaica. The easiest way is to check the type of Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet you have by using websites such as GSM Arena and see if it uses the 850 MHz band, which both LIME and Digicel use for their “4G” Data Services.

You can also call either LIME or Digicel and have them verify as described in How to get 2G or 3G Internet on your Mobile Phone in Jamaica. The CSA (Customer Service Agents) who you’ll call at 100 for either Telecom Provider can do this by checking your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet’s fifteen (15) digit IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) in their database. The IMEI can be easily found on any mobile device by:

  • Looking for the sticker on the Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet with the IMEI written
  • Using *#06# to extract the Smartphone’s IMEI

An alternative to calling LIME or Digicel’s Customer Care Center is as follows:

  • In the case of Digicel, you can text 401 to 137 to do an automated check of your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet to see if it’s compatible
  • You can use an IMEI Lookup Service such as the free use IMEI Number Database Website

Once you know if your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet is capable of accessing 3G/4G, which may also go by the name HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) or even HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus), you’re ready to rock and roll!

Next, you have to make sure your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet Device Settings are activated in order to access either LIME or Digicel’s “4G” Network. To do this, you have to change the Network Settings as follows, based on your device type:

  • 4G smartphone/Tablets – Adjust “Network Settings” or Network Connection” to 3G&2G, 4G&2G, GSM/WCDMA or Dual Mode depending on your phone type
  • Blackberry Phones – Adjust “Manage Connections” or “Mobile Connection Options” to 3G&2G or 3G&4G depending on the type of Blackberry you have
  • Power down the unit then do a battery Pull. Powering off the phone also works, but some phones still draw power from the battery for faster reconnection to the GSM Network e.g. Blackberries, so a battery Pull is highly recommended after powering down the Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet
  • Power it back on. At this point, depending on your Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet, you should see an icon on your Home Screen that says 3G+, 4G, H, H+ or HSPA+ which varies according to the device. This indicates that you have 4G in the area and your device should be able to actively access the “4G” Service.

Stacking up all Faces: Activating a Data Plan

Once you’ve chosen a Data Plan from the list above, activation is as described before in How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 3G Internet using an unlocked Huawei E1556 Modem Dongle or Nokia Modem Dongle using the following USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service) codes and website links to activate the SIM for a Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet:

LIME “4G” Network

  • *146*1# – One (1) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan
  • *146*7 – Seven (7) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan
  • *146*14# – Fourteen (14) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan
  • *146*30# – Thirty (30) day 3G Prepaid Data Plan
  • *129# – Menu Based structure to activate a Prepaid Data Plan on a SIM

Digicel “4G” Network

  • *143# – smartphone menu based options that allow you to choose a Data Plan
  • *135# – Blackberry menu based options that allow you to choose a Data Plan
  • http://myweb.digiceljamaica.com to choose a Data Plan for your Tablet

Good to note here that Digicel is showing some forward thinking and anticipating a coming influx of Tablets with the Weblink, albeit their paltry Data Plans say otherwise. Hopefully LIME will follow suit and start making plans for Tablets much in the same way they have Data Plans for the Apple iPhone.

By now you should be online via your unlocked Modem Dongle, Smartphone or Tablet. For now, Enjoy LIME and Digicel’s fairly decent “4G” Wireless Broadband until the real 4G LTE comes by 2013AD and DSO (Digital Switch Over) is achieved among Free-to Air Broadcasters by 2015AD as noted  in The Future of Free-to-Air Broadcasters in Jamaica as Digital Switch Over Approaches in 2015, if Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell has his way.

Thanks for reading our articles on the Geezam Blog! Do have a wonderful day!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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One Response to "How to Access LIME or Digicel’s 4G Internet using an unlocked 4G LTE Modem Dongle, smartphone or Tablet"

  1. Here’s link to interview on CVM TV on Monday May 21st 2013. Discussion on Prepaid Electricity http://adf.ly/PKNFC #Excited #TrueJamaican.

    Peace

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