LIME Jamaica Mobile TV Review

LIME Jamaica is the first company in the Caribbean to offer DVB-H Mobile TV to customers and one of the first companies in the western hemisphere to adopt the technology. DVB-H is a subsidiary of DVB technology specifically designed for mobile TV viewing, featuring high signal penetration and designs to reduce the impact of the service on battery life.

LIME Mobile TV was launched In November of 2010 with a free promotional period and from that time has gained increasing interest from the public. Within the first week of the launch many persons dealing in cellphones have received several requests for mobile TV enabled handsets in addition to the ones available at LIME stores. There are a few mobile phones and accessories not sold at LIME that can get you tuned into LIME Mobile TV:

  1. The Nokia N96
  2. The Nokia N77
  3. The Nokia USB headset for the Nokia N8, C7, C6-01*
  4. The Nokia Bluetooth adapter**

* Supports all Nokia smartphones with USB OTG support.
** Supports nokia N95, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, will soon be available at LIME.

The devices being pushed by LIME as a part of their official Mobile TV Handset lineup are the Nokia 5330 TV Edition and the ZTE-G N290. These fit into the mid range and the low end of the handset spectrum with various pricing mechanisms that are used in an attempt to get the average Jamaican involved and interested in the product.

Coverage and Signal Quality

The claimed coverage area of LIME Mobile TV is Kingston and St Andrew and Greater St Catherine. Greater St. Catherine involves Portmore, Old Harbour and Spanish Town all the way to the outskirts of Linstead. In my ‘test drive’ run I tested the quality of the system in various situations as well as the coverage area an average person might encounter. My test handset was a LIME provided ZTE-G N290 that is equipped with a large 3.2 inch touchscreen and a high capacity 1500mAh battery- perfect for Mobile TV consumption. The following table gives an idea of how the service fared in various situation:


8-10 excellent

6-10 acceptable

4 & 5 watchable

1-3 laggy and unwatchable


Resulting quality (1-10)

Area test was done


Sitting in a park

Sitting in a building

Riding in a bus(approx 20km/h)

Riding in a bus(Approx 50km/h)

Riding in a bus( near stationary)

Riding in a bus(30-50km/h)








Halfway Tree Road

Halfway Tree Park

Mothers Restaurant(HWT)



Mini Bus(SPN TWN to LNSTD)

Mini Bus(SPN TWN to LNSTD)

My test drive took me from one end of the support area in Halfway Tree to The outskirts of the Bog Walk Gorge where I finally lost coverage. Throughout most of the tests done the service worked admirably well and only degrades significantly in certain remote situations such as driving at high speeds in areas with spotty signal. Degradation at a set speed affects all mobile technologies, WIMAX for instance does not work above 120km/h and GPRS, EDGE and 3G all degrades significantly the faster you go(until they eventually stop working). Signal retention of Mobile TV is also affected by the size of the vehicle, the mini bus for instance tends to lose a lot of signal whenever something like a trailer or a truck blocks the window, reinforcing a form of Faraday Cage that is already in place with the metal skin of the vehicle. Overall however you should not experience much issue with LIME Mobile TV signal quality under normal circumstances.

Picture Quality and Content Available

Image quality varies between devices with different screen resolutions and different screen technologies. The device I had for testing was the low end ZTE-G N290 however I had the opportunity some weeks ago to get first hand experience of the service on a Nokia 5330 TV Edition, in any indoor comparison the ZTE-G N290 would have better overall performance and picture quality. Outdoors however the transflective screen of the Nokia 5330 TV Edition would have given it a visibility edge over the N290 which is very difficult to see in direct sunlight. The difference is due to the different screen resolutions with the N290 having a higher resolution screen when compared to the Nokia 5330 TV Edition(240 x 400 vs 320×240). This higher resolution density gives a very crisp and detailed ‘HD like’ quality to Mobile TV on the N290, this also demonstrates that the technology itself is scalable and will work even better on higher resolution phones such as the Nokia N97 mini.

There are currently 10 channels available: CNN, Starz!, Hype, Tempo, ABC, NBC, Fox Soccer Plus, CVM and Sportsmax.

Loading the list of available channels take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on your signal strength, loading a channel from the list however is instantaenous.


LIME Mobile TV is surprisingly affordable and is theoretically free when the talk time you receive after activating the plan is considered. At 250 dollars weekly you can get to tune in to the 10 channels available, with more coming online in the coming months, the service is free now as a part of a promotion however so you can tune in if you are in the coverage area and have one of the following phones in your possession:

Phone/Phone category

Low End:

ZTE-G N290

Mid Range:

Nokia 5330 TV Edition

Nokia N77*

High End:

Nokia N96*

Nokia N97/N97 mini**

Nokia N95**

* not officially supported, not guaranteed to work
** not officially supported, needs Nokia Bluetooth Adapter

Closing Notes

Mobile TV is a very innovative move by LIME, a move in the right direction it seems as the service has been gaining widespread publicity and interest from the public. Mobile TV can be said to be the most appealing LIME service offered since the company came about, it is not as much of a niche technology as people once thought, interest is growing, and it’s growing fast. If the company is able to grasp and sustain this renewed interest that the public is showing into them then they should be able to use it as a leverage to get back into the thoughts of the average Jamaican, not as a secondary phone company, but as a phone company they will bet their day to day life on.

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Horace is a military and tech enthusiast who spends most of his spare time listening to music or working on his many interests. He has a grasp of journalism and has been writing from he was 9 years old and has participated in several writing competitions throughout Jamaica.


  • Ramano

    My coworker got one last week by trading in her phone I’m not too sure how that works if you know you may want to shed some light on it here. The office is located on “Ardenne Road” and in office the performance was as I feared with the buffering issues and at one point in time while watching “Sportsmax” we lost signal all together.

    I’m not really a television person so I didn’t really pay much attention to the phone itself, but thanks to for this detailed breakdown it shed a light on somethings I for one was not aware that the speed that one is traveling at affects wireless signals. I was also not aware that the level handset you have contributes to the image quality I thought what I was seeing on the lower end “ZTE-G N290” was what one would have to come to expect from the Moblie TV which to me was watchable at best.

  • Horace

    well in some heavily walled buildings you might have problems, however the technology itself uses low frequency radio waves which pass through walls much easier than even cellphone signal waves.

    yes all wireless technology have a certain speed limit, tv is usually one of the most resilient of the lot and that is why it is used to communicate with things like guided missiles and rockets.

  • williamle

    I maybe missing something but doesn’t GreenDot in Trinidad offer a similar service prior to 2010? And what about Claro in Puerto Rico and the Dominican republic weren’t they enjoying this before us? Correct me if I am wrong please.

  • Horace

    His statement I believe was in reference to the “first to offer DVB-H MobileTV” statement in the article. Now GreenDot offers DVB-T for home media centers and set-top box, not to mobile phones in my knowledge, a trip to the Claro Puerto Rico site will show a set-top box for satellite TV.

    Any knowledgeable person can get up and say just about every mobile phone company offers TV because, well, you can just download Slingplayer and stream TV via the cellular network. This approach is different however because DVB-H is a next generation standard designed specifically for this purpose, IP Tvs can bring down fragile mobile phone networks and the quality offered will be significantly lower than on DVB-H, for the sole reason that you will need to buffer once in a while as well as having a very small bandwidth and narrow channel.

    So yes you can stream TV on just about any cellular network, but just how useable will it be? What about your data bill at the end of the month? what about quality?

    So its not about whether or not persons can watch TV elsewhere on other networks through any other means, this is about a next generation technology specifically designed for this purpose and adopted as such by such an organisation with a rigid quality control system as the European Union. Why didnt they adopt any other? They simple were not good enough to be adopted 🙂

  • samuel

    why cant the zte-g n20 cannot go on facebook which other simpler phones can.when i do get on facebook after a while a message came up saying out of memory which is rather silly..can anyone explain that or is this phone only made for the tv and not the social networks

  • Martyn Roetter

    Thank you for this information Horace. I have been following DVB-H and have to say that it is bold of LIME to launch this service given the very poor experiences in Europe with DVB-H (see Ireland, Spain, France, Germany…) , as well as Qualcomm’s abandoning its MediaFlo-based mobile TV service. There may be several reasons for these failures or at least delays, e.g. paucity of handsets although Nokia has been a strong advocate, and the more fundamental questions of business model (subscription, advertising-paid, free-to-air…) and limited interest from consumers. I would be interested in seeing how well this initiative by LIME develops, and whether there are factors in Jamaica that may lead to a different outcome than the past few years’ experiences in Europe and the US.

  • i bought a zte-gn290 phone on 25.11.11, and it is not giving a good service. it will not allow me to even download any games on applications,it is saying unsupported format.What can i do to download games from the internet?

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