CLARO’s Freeness ends 5th January 2012 – Digicel’s Bigger, Better with Data and Cloud

“As of Jan 5 2012, Claro’s Prepaid Call 2 Text 1, Free Weekends, Free Nights, Free Credit from Foreign & OMG Texting Promotions will no longer be available”

Sender: 18763044401

Message Center 18763044017

Sent: December 16 2011 13:13:45

And so with this ominous SMS on my CLARO Phone, Digicel, the conquering vassals who have now gained CLARO Jamaica via a swap with World’s No.1 Billionaire Carlos Slim Helu owned America Movil for their assets in Hondurasand El Salvador, seals their final fate. This is now the public form what was originally declared in my article America Movil – Digicel Jamaica swap is Final.

So what happens now, you scratch your head reading my article and ruminating? Details are yet to emerge (and may never emerge knowing the secretive nature of Telecoms Providers!!) on the financial aspects of the deal, so one can only really speculate. But a few things are obvious and can be concluded from their recent moves announced in the somewhat half-blind (deliberate??) Media

For one Digicel’s ability to become a monopoly is now fully curtailed, as in addition to having to build out their Caribbean-wide HSDPA+ Release 7 Network (otherwise called 3G+ and oft branded a “4G”) to compete with LIME as pointed out in LIME, Digicel and FLOW – Leading the Global 4G Adoption Curve, they have to fulfill America Movil’s contractual obligations to the Government of Jamaica and finish the building of Pharaoh’s Pyramid.

In more diplomatic language, this Bilateral Trade Agreement, which Digicel now inherits post-swap requires Digicel to continue the build-out of CLARO’s Network, which was supposed to have achieved 90% coverage based of course on details their Bilateral Trade Agreement with the GOJ signed back in 2008, of which I as a former RF Technician from CLARO have a copy. Due to its confidential nature and GOJ signatories, I cannot publish it online, fearing persecution (not necessarily prosecution!!)

Coincidentally, the Government of Jamaica under then Prime Minister Bruce Golding before he abdicated the JLP Leadership and his Prime Minister Post, had mandated the creation of a special Telecom Regulator just for the Telecom Providers as noted in New Telecom Act Coming for Jamaica – Providers surprised with their Own Regulator, whose interests were not being properly served under the somewhat lazy and otherwise occupied eyes of the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation).

Despite this acquisition, Digicel’s popularity has not been dented, with six (6) month profits ending on September 2011AD up by 16 per cent to US$1.24 billion when compared to a similar period in 2010AD thanks mainly to additional revenue from increased subscribers and VAS (Value Added Services).

Neither has a raft of Prepaid phone credit disappearances both for Voice calling and the supposedly free Facebook.0 access on your Blackberry as noted in resident blogger Horace article Has your Digicel prepaid credit been vanishing lately? Made any noticeable difference in their popularity, which grows perennnail with every season of Rising Stars.

The Great BlackBerry Outage of 2011AD has not made their Blackberry Services any less popular, albeit Blackberry itself is slowly losing favour with the Corporate and Enterprise World in the US as noted in 30% Blackberry Blackout by Corporate and Enterprise – Bring Your Favourite Gear, a trend sure to catch on in Jamaica as Corporate and Enterprise types realize Streaming, Video Calling and Video Conferencing are useful traits of Tablets and smartphones.

Digicel also received lackluster reviews from the Business Community in terms of their WiMaX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) based 4G Broadband Network on year since launch in Horace’s article Digicel Wimax: One Year After Launch, nothing that an islandwide upgrade of their IPRAN (IP Radio Access Network) to a FAN (Fiber Optic Access Network) with worth a cool US$250 million couldn’t fix

Their recent forays into Cloud Computing in the form of Cloud Backup Services as reported in my article Digicel’s Cloud Backup Services – A deep Analysis and their attempts to beat LIME in the Voice PBX (Private Branch Exchange) business using Cloud Telephony Digicel Cloud Telephony to Make Switched Voice Extinct are, however, on the road to financial sustainability.

This as Data Services, NOT Voice Services, will be the chief source of Revenue for Telecom Providers moving forward in 2012AD, with Call Centers being the only major users of Voice Services in Jamaica in the next five (5) years. More on that in another penned ditty from yours truly in another article.

Happy New Year, whichever Telecom Provider you have dear to your heart!!!

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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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