Digicel intros the Anywhere Plan for Postpaid

Looks like Digicel is out to give everyone a heart attack. Apparently not satisfied with the JA$8.99 Flat Rate Calling Plan for Prepaid (Digiflex) Customers, the Red and White Company has upped the ante and decided to make Postpaid (DigiSelect) Customers feel some of the love as well. This as they have announced an Anywhere Plan for Postpaid on Sunday April 15th 2012AD, again under the quiet, with scarcely any advertising in the Media save for a Newspaper Splash Ad!

Interestingly the JA$8.99 Flat Rate Calling Plan mainly benefits those persons who make frequent Cross Network Calls, with LIME, the sole competitor in the Mobile space, not really benefitting at all. In fact, LIME is yet to respond with a Flat Rate Calling Plan for their very own!

LIME prefers to wait on Minister of Technology and Telecommunications Philip Paulwell to make a declaration as to the timeline for the new Telecoms Regulator which will herald standardized Flat Rate Cross Network Calling and MNP (Mobile Number Portability) as noted in New Telecom Act Coming for Jamaica – Providers surprised with their Own Regulator.

Akin to the JA$8.99 Flat Rate Calling Plan, activation for the Anywhere Plan for Postpaid is as simple as dialing the USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) code of *155# on your Postpaid phone. The system then prompts you to choose between the two (2) Anywhere Plans as detailed below:

Plan Monthly Fee (JA$) Free Anywhere Minutes (Local mobile and Landline) Free Digicel to Digicel Text Messages Free Nights and Weekends (Digicel to Digicel)

Anywhere 1499





Anywhere 1999





Once activated, calls to any local number outside of the Digicel Network is billed at a Flat Rate of JA$8.99, with the Minutes being deducted from the Free Anywhere Minutes. With such an attractive pricing point and attractive Anywhere Minutes bundle (finally!!!), no doubt a lot of Digicel Postpaid Customers as well as persons with high volume calling habit may be considering the switch to Postpaid!

Thirty (30) days to try it out before you can deactivate the Service using *155*0#, the Plan basically merges Primary and Secondary minute that are found in traditional Postpaid (DigiSelect) Plans into a bundle of Minutes that can allow you to call anywhere, hence the name. Also, Gimme 5 benefits apply with the exception of the offer of thirty (30) Minutes of free calling after five (5) Minutes on an overseas call to the US, UK and Canada.

To get an idea of what you’re coming from in terms of Postpaid Plans, take a gander at the old DigiSelect Rates:

DigiSelect Monthly Bill (JA$) Phone Deposit (JA$) Primary Minutes (Local mobile and Landline) Secondary Minutes (LIME Mobile and anywhere else) SMS Bundles
1000 1000.00 2500.00 150 25 25
2000 2000.00 4500.00 400 25 25
3000 3000.00 5500.00 800 50 35
5500 5500.00 10,000.00 1500 100 50
Access 750.00 2,000.00

The statistics from the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation), the current regulators with oversight in the Telecoms Sector recorded a 35% increase in Postpaid Customer in the Fourth Quarter of 2010AD to 133,000 from 98,519 in the Fourth Quarter of 2009AD.

If this trend holds, Digicel may be witnessing a renaissance in Postpaid, which their presence in Jamaica in 2001AD helping to stomp out in competing against C&W (Cable Wireless). C&W was a previous incarnation of LIME and Digicel’s strategy resulted in a mass market bait-and-switch to their Services all based on Prepaid and per-second billing.

Digicel, however, began singing a different tune after the acquisition of CLARO as recorded in CLARO’s Freeness ends 5th January 2012 – Digicel’s Bigger, Better with Data and Cloud, realizing that there was money to be made in Wireless Broadband, especially if they encouraged customers from the start to go Postpaid instead of Prepaid, pointing to the lower pricing point as a benefit to customers

Encouraged by the results of their 4G Broadband experiment using WiMaX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and the fact that the OUR statistics indicate an undercurrent of interest in their long ignored Postpaid, which consists only 5% of the estimated 3.049 million Mobile phone users in Jamaica, the remaining 95% users being Prepaid, the improvement came bang on time!

Throw in the fact that the Remittance Market has been seeing an uptick in recent months, Digicel realizes that Jamaicans may be returning to their free spending ways quite soon due to a rise in consumer confidence.

Postpaid is set for boom time along with Mobile Data as well as Fixed Line Landline and Mobile Services, despite the lack of jobs and a sluggish Jamaican Economy as many try to make themselves comfortable for the long haul. This phenomenon is itself worthy of discussion in another article folks, as it is indeed strange that!

Being that Postpaid Customer are a rare breed, this strategy as it relates to the missing Gimme 5 International Calling is obviously geared at achieving one (1) thing: Wean Postpaid and Prepaid users off Gimme 5 Free International Calling and get them to subscribe to an International Calling Plan, be it the International 1000 or International 1250 Prepaid Calling Plan.

Clearly, the JA$8.99 Flat Rate Calling Plan was geared at holding on the CLARO Migrated Customer who were used to Flat Rate Cross Network Calling. Now that Digicel has replicated it with Postpaid, it’s almost a smoking gun for a ramp up by Digicel to increase revenues in Local and International Calling!

Not one to sit on their laurels, LIME is also aggressively getting ready to launch their “4G” Service to head off the coming wave of low-cost Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Services such as Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1 Tech Services Limited as predicted in LIME’s 4G Experience Centers challenge the Rise of Dekal Wireless Dragon.

A further indication that they are not taking the coming challenge of Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Services lightly; LIME has also slashed their 3G Mobile Broadband rates to EXACTLY match those of the stealthy Chinese Dragon that is Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1 Tech Services Limited! Clearly, clearly folks, as I had asserted in LIME’s 4G Experience Centers challenge the Rise of Dekal Wireless Dragon, Digicel is NOT the target.

Digicel’s 8.99 Flat Rate Calling Plan now really appears to have been a response to pressure from the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) Minister of Technology and Telecommunications Philip Paulwell as well as the possibility of coming competition after DSO (Digital Switch Over) as ruminated in Digicel Introduces One Rate Calling for $8.99 in Jamaica.

Coupled this with recent moves by Digicel to make one hundred and twenty (120) positions redundant, mainly in Customer Care, which they are currently outsourcing to former CLARO Jamaica Call Center FullGram Solutions Limited, a restriction and rationalization move that clearly has efficiency at its heart!

Like LIME, Digicel is bracing for impact from the worsening Global Economy as evidenced by the decline in On Net and Cross Network Local Calling. But in a spin for the optimistic, the increase in remittance spending means that they are also investing in a future that appears to be in line with a Jamaican Economy bolstered by a surge in foreign exchange inflows.

The local Telecom Providers are also shoring up their defenses against any potential coming competition in the Mobile space …..such as the silently Rising Dragon that is Dekal Wireless and Nubian-1 Tech Services Limited as prognosticated earlier in Crouching LIME Huawei E586 Mi-Fi – Hidden Dekal Wireless Dragon. Thus the launch of the Anywhere Plan for Postpaid, like the JA$8.99 Flat Rate Calling Plan for Prepaid aims to:

  • Introduce Flat Rate Calling in a pre-emptive strike against LIME before the new Regulator can set rates for Cross Network Calling; a very clever marketing ploy
  • Take advantage of the increasing trend towards Postpaid, as Customer favour convenience of thirty (30) day billing over adding Pay-As-You-Go Credit
  • Shore up revenues for International Calling by getting more Customers to take up a International Prepaid Calling Plan

So now that the circle is complete, what will be the customer response? Another article, another time…..

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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.