How to activate Digicel VIP Text and get Free Texting on Digicel or LIME phone as IM gets more popular

By now you must be aware that Texting is dying globally. If you aren’t, that means most likely you’re one of those people STILL using a feature phone to send SMS (Short Messaging Services) or Text Messages even as IM (Instant Messaging) is on the rise globally according to analyst Informa. Worse, you don’t have the now increasingly popular smartphone with the cursory Data Plan as they may be too expensive.

You may also have qualms about keeping your Dual-citizenship on both Telecom Providers, so to speak. You may already be doing this by having a low-cost can’t-find-no-parts Chinese phones feature phone (yes, despite its advanced options, it’s a feature phone!). If so, you’re part of growing trend towards smartphones as surmised in Trend towards Dual-SIM Smartphones developing in Jamaica as MNP Approaches, then this article’s for you.


Most likely you’re looking for a Dual-SIM smartphone that a lot more reliable than the no-part Chinese phones currently on the Market and you have a desire to partake in MNP (Mobile Number Portability) as explained in Digicel wants Fixed Line as a part of Mobile Number Portability in a Triple Play for Cloud Telephony Dominance without having to pay for it by the end of 2013. For you, dear sufferer from Text-itis and short-on-money-to-buy-a-smartphone-itis (that’s my main disease!), I have a dual prescription, literally.

LIME’s Samsung Galaxy Y, which also has a Dual-SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) version, is attractively priced below US$100 (approximately JA$10,000) as explained in Samsung Galaxy Y is LIME’s sub-US$100 alternative to the Digicel DL600 smartphone.

If you love playing favourites and you’re still in love with the Bigger, Better Network despite the reduction in Cross-Network Voice Calling Rates, the Digicel DL600, which is really a rebranded Alcatel One Touch S’Pop, is also a good way to go as per Kelroy’s article Digicel to launch Affordable Android-powered 4G Smartphone in May.

And if you like neither and you want something from abroad that says “I brought this online”, then there’s always the Nokia Asha 501 as described in US$99 Nokia Asha 501 debuts in India as Nokia throws down the gauntlet to Budget smartphone challengers. No pricing’s yet available for the recently launched Blackberry Q5, but all bets are on Blackberry Q5 as described in Kelroy’s article BlackBerry announces the BlackBerry Q5 for Selected Markets launching with a US$99 price tag.

This in a bid to hold its smartphone turf against Samsung Tizen OS, Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox OS, Canonical’s Ubuntu OS as per speculation in Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona announces Huawei Ascend P2 as Samsung debuts Tizen OS. Ditto too, a virtual swarm of budget Google Android Single and Dual-SIM sub-US$99 Smartphone that seem to be spring up like very hard to kill garden Weeds. So dear Text-itis and short-on-money-to-buy-a-smartphone-it is sufferer, that’s four (4) solid choices, and a couple of them are even Dual-SIM.

But if you really still love Texting and you’re not ready to wade into the WhatsApp waters, despite being hotter than Twitter’s 200 million unique users per month, then maybe what you need is a reliable Texting Plan from either Digicel or LIME. So you know what time it is, dear reader: DIY (Do It Yourself) Time!

In the next few lines I’ll present you with USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) Codes to check Credit Balance and Activate VIP Text Plans that exist on either Network.

For both Digicel and LIME, it’s the same USSD Code to check Credit Balance; *120*#. Also both LIME and Digicel have a Free Texting Feature that mimic’s CLARO OMG service that expired back in 2012 as stated in CLARO’s Freeness ends 5th January 2012 – Digicel’s Bigger, Better with Data and Cloud. CLARO OMG, if you were a fan of their service (I know I was!) is that Plan where you’ve paid JA$10 and upon entering an activation code, it allowed you to send 100 Text for the day.

Digicel cloned this idea and included it in their Gimme 5 Promotion in 2009 and LIME followed suit in 2011 when competition was hot with CLARO. For both LIME and Digicel, they’re activated accordingly:

  • Gimme 5 Text is activated by sending more than five (5) Texts and get 100 Texts for the day free. This falls under their Gimme 5 Product (as it’s no longer a promotion).

  • In the case of LIME, you merely send three (3) Text and get 100 Texts for the day free. This falls under the Anyone Plan

Strangely enough, Digicel and LIME have different ways of checking the Credit Balance for various Services. The following USSD Codes work with Digicel ONLY:

  • *120*1# – International Calling Minutes

  • *120*2# – Text Flex

  • *120*3# – Loyalty Credit

  • *120*4# – Free Nights

  • *120*5# – Free Nights (may or may not work all the time)

  • *120*6# – Online Top-up Bonus

  • *120*7# – Staggered Credit

  • *120*8# – Triple Bubble

  • *120*9# – 2G Bundle Balance

Equally strange too, LIME has no VIP Text Service, but Digicel does. As a bit of a reminder, WhatsApp’s now set to charge US0.99 or approximately JA$100 for a yearly subscription to WhatsApp. So what this means is that Digicel VIP Text Service at JA$200 per month, the next closest thing to WhatsApp and as such, despite being limited to texting, is worth a second look.

First for the Digicel VIP Text, the parameters are as follows:

  • 2 to 5 persons per group

  • Unlimited Texting among member of that group

  • Thirty (30) days

  • JA$200 plus tax per person

It’s a little pricier than WhatsApp, but it guarantees private VIP Texts between its 2-5 members and is effectively a CUG (Closed User Group) for texting. Just follow the sequence of USSD Codes to activate Digicel VIP Text:

  • *146*[select 1 to 5 members]#

  • *146*1# – person initiating the Plan pays for all members

  • *146*0# – each member of the VIP Texting Plan Pays

You’ll receive a Group ID to identify your texting group. At this point you’ll send an invitation to the persons you wish to invite to your VIP Text Plan:

  • *146*[Group ID]*[persons phone no.]# – invitation to each member of the group

Each person in the group receives a message and a confirmation code to accept or decline the invitation:

  • *146*[Group ID]*[confirmation code]2*1# – to confirm accepting joining and accept paying JA$200

  • *146*[Group ID]*[confirmation code]2*0# – to confirm declining joining and decline paying JA$200

  • *146*[Group ID]*2# – To confirm being charged

Once activated or invited, recipients have thirty (30) minutes to accept or decline the invitation before it expires and two (2) hours to add credit and confirm payment. However after joining a VIP Text group, you’ve decided that paying JA$200 plus tax for texting isn’t worth your credit, then once the following parameters are true, you can leave the group:

  • If the group has more than 2 members

  • If you’re not the person who initiated the group

First to leave the Group, you have to know:

  • Group ID

  • Other VIP Groups you are a part

  • Expiry Date

The following USSD codes will fetch that data for you from the system:

  • *146# – to determine which Groups you are a part of

You then have to either call the person who invited you or call Digicel Customer Care at 100 to get the Group ID once you’ve verified using either the PUK, Month and Year of SIM Card Activation or full confirmation of Customer Registration Information you’ve submitted on application. Once you have this info and you’ve satisfied all the above criteria, leaving the VIP Text Group is easy.

  • *146*Group ID*9# – to leave a VIP Text Group before 30 Days expire

There’s no pro-rating so you won’t get back your credit. At this point, you’ll soon realize that for just US$99 for any of the above budget smartphones, JA$2500 per month for a Data Service and US$0.99 for WhatsApp’s yearly subscription, Digicel VIP Text at JA$200 per month on a decent Feature phone when compared to the above, works out to be the same thing or “6 a one an’ ½ dozen of de odda”, if not cheaper.

Worse, the Free Texting Feature on BOTH Digicel and LIME means that despite the global popularity of WhatsApp, Texting will be around in Jamaica for quite awhile.

In the end, it comes down to whether you think the technology change to a smartphone, paying for Data and frittering your time away on Social Networking sites and IM Platforms is worth it. The above costs to get in on the “smart” crowd trend of IM vs VIP Text is merely placed there for your consideration if it’s really important for you to keep up with what’s poppin’.

Thanks for reading ….or should I say texting my article. Retweet, repost or whatever if ya get the message when you read my latest ditty. Have a great 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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