“This move forms part of our mission to broaden public access to basic services via the Internet through the Free Basics programme, while reducing the cost to get online. Additionally, Digicel is always striving to provide more value through new and innovative ways and free Facebook (and Free Basics) is another way we’re fulfilling this value proposition to all our subscribers.”
Digicel commenting on their introduction of Facebook Flex and Free Basic
Digicel has clearly started a war against all comers, including FLOW Jamaica and Caricel, like a SledgeHammer, Rihanna Style!
As of Friday July 1st 2016, Digicel has launched a new pair of services called Facebook Flex and Digicel Basics. Facebook Flex gives unlimited access to Facebook and Facebook Messenger, allowing customers to even upload pictures without the need for a data plan or credit.
Can I get an Amen!? Wait, I’m not finished as yet!
Digicel Basics, their other big product, is a set of selected and approved websites that Digicel Jamaica customer can also access for free without the need for a data plan or credit. These websites provide essential information on the following:
- Local Information Websites
This includes GOJ Websites, thanks to negotiations initiated by the Minister of Science, Technology and Energy to allow Jamaicans to view Government of Jamaica Websites for free without a Data plan or without using up your credit.
So why is Digicel doing this?
Digicel and Internet.org – Shifting Stance on Net Neutrality, one website at a time
Jamaica, the 5th Digicel market to get free access to Facebook, is joining other countries as part of the internet.org initiative that has the support of Facebook. Started in Digicel Panama, the initiative to make Facebook and other informative website free to access has also been launched in the following countries:
- El Salvador
Other countries that Digicel operates in will surely follow, as free Facebook and access to informative and education websites will attract more users to use Digicel’s LTE service. For this reason, Digicel is bearing the cost of this initiative, to quote a digicel spokesperson: “We believe it will increase the number of new customers who didn’t have access to the Internet before or simply didn’t feel the need to use it. Digicel is working closely with Facebook to provide free access to Free Basics and Facebook Flex and we are jointly marketing this to increase awareness and get more customers connected to the Internet.”
This goes a little against their opposition on Network Neutrality or Net Neutrality for short, as they’re selectively choosing a particular set of websites to be freely accessible to the public. Then again, it also opens up the possibility that if interested parties wish to have their websites accessible for free on their Network, they would have to pay Digicel for that privilege.
So what does this mean for FLOW Jamaica?
Digicel Facebook Free and Digicel Basics – FLOW Jamaica Data Plans now in Jeopardy
Free to not only use Facebook but to also download the installation software as well as to receive updates and upload pictures. Simply put, FLOW Jamaica is as good as dead!
This as a problem that is plaguing FLOW Jamaica customers is the fact that their Data plans finish quickly, eating off their Credit. This is to the point that Wi-Fi is the weapon of choice to save your FLOW Data Plan as explained in FLOW Jamaica MiFi helps you use Prepaid Mobile Internet Plan wisely.
Check out the post on their @DIGICELjamaica Twitter feed:
Facebook w/NO Data Plan! 😮
Try Facebook Flex today and enjoy the world's largest social network for FREE w/ Digicel. pic.twitter.com/0f5agvpq8j
— Digicel Jamaica (@DIGICELJamaica) June 29, 2016
Folks, this is effectively Unlimited Data, but specific to a particular Website! Nicely done, Digicel!
Digicel makes Facebook Free – Sweetener to entice users of Digicel LTE users
Please note that this isn’t Facebook Zero, which allows you to post words but no images or heavy graphics.
This is the full-blown Facebook App, the same one that gobbles up 500GB or internal memory when installed and uses up a bulk of your system resources to the point I’d recommended its removal as I’d explained in How to stop Facebook and Messenger from draining your battery.
Quite fitting tribute too, as Thursday June 30th, 2016 was Social Media Day!
— Digicel Jamaica (@DIGICELJamaica) June 30, 2016
This strategy move ensures that Digicel, having launched Digicel LTE as described in How to Activate a Digicel LTE Smart Plan on your Smartphone will remain on top of the coming 4G LTE Competition. It also solves the problem of you Megabytes running off too fast, as at the faster speeds, you’re expensive Digicel LTE Data plans will be finished even faster!
— Digicel Jamaica (@DIGICELJamaica) June 10, 2016
— Digicel Jamaica (@DIGICELJamaica) June 10, 2016
But why choose Facebook? Why not another Social Network, like Snapchat?
Social Media the Driver for Mobile Internet – Expect FLOW and Caricel Social Media War
According to the OUR (Office of the Utilise Regulation) Telecommunications Market Information Report released on Monday June 6th 2016 for the Q2 of 2015 ending June 2015, Mobile Social Media apps rule the roost.
Apps such as Snapchat, makers of the mission impossible disappearing pictures and videos, accounts for the 153% increase for Internet revenue during that period! So expect that when Caricel and FLOW Jamaica launch, they will make certain Social Media Websites free as a way to entice users to try their 4G LTE services as pointed out in FLOW Jamaica and Caricel may launch 4G LTE with Unlimited Data and Family Plans.
Digicel know Jamaicans love their Facebook. So don’t be surprised if FLOW Jamaica retaliates by doing something similar, such as unlimited data plans, full refund of overage charges and possibly (dare I say this?!) free Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat.
At which point Digicel may retaliate by making access to Snapchat data plan and credit free! Folks, War is coming this summer and the Final Frontier of Mobile internet pushes back, Star Wars Style!
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