Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers Averell French making Chocolate - Master Architect is Jamaica's sole Chocolatier with Chocolate delights to resurrect Jamaica's Candy Industry

“Both are two wonderful products and both, flagship products. There is a world demand for these products and both have great potential. I think it's really good and we work with a network of farmers that we encourage. I don't think we can ever meet the demand given the potential demand based on the landsize of Jamaica”

Founder and CEO of Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers, Averell French at an event for the 'Countdown to the Food Awards' on Monday April 22nd 2014, at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston

We now have an official Jamaican candy maker, CEO of Sweetie Confectionary, Patria-Kay Aarons aka the CVM TV Weathergirl whose products go live in May 2014 as explained in my blog article entitled “Sweetie Confectionery CEO Patria-Kaye Aarons to launch Jamaican Flavoured Candy - May the Force be with the Weather Presenter as it's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”.

Now there is finally a replacement for the missing element of Chocolate production from Cocoa on the island, that being Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers, who actually began production of Chocolate some six (6) months ago as stated in “French to fill void for local Chocolate”, published Wednesday, April 16, 2014 BY STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Founder and CEO of Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers Averell French is an architect-turned-Cocoa Farmer whose here in the island at just the right time. In 2013, the Inter-American Development Bank gave the Jamaica Cocoa Farmers' Association a US$1.7-million grant to set up factories to produce chocolate bars and balls. Jamaican Cocoa farmers still, however, exports Cocoa Beans and parched Coffee Beans, which many local Coffee makers purchase and process to make bags of Coffee Beans or bottles of Coffee powder, the main product from Cocoa Beans.

Exports of Cocoa Beans earn the country some US$1 million in exports. Due to increased global demand for Cocoa, it’s resulted in a shortage in supply for the fruit and thus increased prices for the raw Cocoa and processed coffee Beans themselves. To that end, a value added product such as Chocolate seems a natural fit on the island, as it helps Cocoa farmers make even more money from their Cocoa beans.

Averell French the Architect turned Farmer – Chocolate is the Value Added Product that’s missing from Jamaica

Apparently bored out of his skull, a trait atypical of the very intellectual-minded Londoner, he decided to deviate from his profession and become a Cocoa Farmer, to quote Averell French: “I decided I didn't want to spend my life in the UK. I have lived my life there as an architect and I wanted to do something else”.

So he came back, got some 150 acres of land in the Western side of the Blue Mountains and put 26 acres under cultivation. At 300 lb of Chocolate per week from his 15 full-time employees since starting production six months ago, his production from his Chocolate Factory in Bull Bay, St. Thomas is just getting into the swing of things.

This as with the right amount of marketing, he’ll soon discover there’s a local demand for chocolate products as well. Despite the influx of Foreign Chocolate, like CEO of Sweetie Confectionary, Patria-Kay Aarons, Founder and CEO of Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers Averell French will discover that many Jamaicans are interested in high-quality Jamaican made food products, especially sweets!

Currently he distributes his products up-market to clients such as by Adam & Eve spa and The Wine Shop, but the general public is yet to taste his Chocolate or even his Chocolate Wine! I'm yet to see any of his products in supermarkets or on sale in Stores downtown or even Cross Roads. Until it reaches that level of ubiquitousness, the same level that Sweetie Confectionary is aiming for in terms of Local and International Sale orders, he's basically stuck as a niche market product.

Fortunately, he doesn’t just produce Chocolate for consumption, but also produces VAS (Value Added Products) from the Chocolate and Cocoa Powder obtained from milling and grinding the Cocoa Beans:

1.      Chocolate wine
2.      Cocoa butter
3.      Cocoa nibs
4.      Cocoa powder
5.      Dark chocolate
6.      Face masks
7.      Flavoured chocolate
8.      White chocolate

His long-term plan is very trial-and-error, as he's taking it all in stride.  Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers is, for now, working the up-market customers until they've got production ramped up. Once they reach that point where he can produce chocolate in a more efficient economy-of-scale, they'll go islandwide and export, to quote Averell French, quote: “The short-term vision is basically to introduce the product to people, to note the response, develop our product further and reach out to different markets. At the moment, we are looking to get the product in more Jamaican shops”.

Businessman Claude Clarke owned HighGate chocolate is his gold standard, as the Founder of Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers Averell French aims to emulate this household name Chocolate maker that went bust in 2007. HighGate was named after a St. Mary Town, much as Mount Pleasant was named after a very tall Hill in St. Thomas that my company, CLARO Jamaica, used to have a 3G Cell Site installed, the main connection I have to this story.

A Return of HighGate isn't going to happen anytime soon. But a younger entrepreneur apparently has decided to make a name out of a Mountain that CLARO once had a 3G Cell site hosted and which I remember was very hard to visit and maintain but reaped success as sweet as the Chocolate that Mount Pleasant Chocolatiers intends to make.

Monday, April 21, 2014

How smartphones are stolen and IMEI changed – Uninformed Jamaican Police Tracking Jamaicans even as GOJ ID Registration by Telecom Providers needed

There are times when I wonder if our growing love for smartphones since the JA$10,000 Digicel DL600 and DL700 came on the scene as described in my blog article entitled Digicel reports increases in Data Services, DL600 and DL700 sales in 2013 - LIME's all about the Benjamins from 4G LTE making Digicel Captain America The Winter Soldier” has a dark side.

Turns out does; increased theft of smartphones is still placing Jamaicans at risk as they are very highly prized in the criminal underworld not only for their resale value but because they can be a source of money via Blackmail as explained in the article “Phones for the taking”, Published Monday April 14, 2014 by Corey Robinson, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The article, based on a series of interviews with known phone thief named “Peter” who apparently lives in the Golden Triangle, admit to what’s already known in the area where I live; stealing smartphones is big money as nobody wants Blackberry’s anymore!

In fact, he also spoke what’s already known and even more troubling; most of the smartphones sold in the underground to high-end clientele, sometime Uptowners are stolen smartphones. These smartphones are often take from, ironically, party-goers pre-occupied at the various party events that they go to, from Carnival, massive Church Crusades to even Boys and Girls Champs.

So the next time someone says to meet you someplace to sell you a high end smartphones for a price between JA$10,000 (US$100) to JA$20,000 (US$200) that normally costs JA$50,000 (US$500) and up, most likely that smartphone stolen. Worse, it may also have been unlocked and even had its fifteen (15) digit IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) changed, much as a chassis on a car can be changed!

How smartphones are processed once stolen – Unlocking smartphones and IMEI can also be changed

The procedure sounds legit too; steal the phone, shut it down and then discard the SIM Card so that it won’t ring to allow the customer to manually locate the mobile phone as described in “Phone thieves bypassing security systems”, Published Monday April 14, 2014, by Tyrone Thompson, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

If the target, as they’re called, wants back their number then they need to go to the nearest Customer Care Center for either Digicel or LIME and follow the procedure as laid out in my blog article entitled “How to Register your SIM Card and get the PUK1 and access Digicel’s Phone Calling Records”. 

The smartphone has to be eventually turned on at some time in the future to access any Data that stored on its Internal Memory or unlock it as described in my blog article entitled “How to unlock any phone and put it on any Network - Guaranteed to unlock any Feature or Smartphone on the Chennai Express”.

Additionally, the smartphone thieves can also unlock the smartphone using software that you can get for free or purchase online as listed in my blog article entitled “Free and Paid Professional Software to unlock smartphones unto any Network - The Nut Job on Unlocking any Feature or Smartphone”.

If it’s an Apple device, they can use the procedure as laid out in my blog article entitled “How to Unlock your Apple iPhone - Backup, Erase and Restore with The Bag Man being iOS Setup Assistant” in order to unlock both Apple iPhones, Apple iPhone Touch and Apple iPads!

Smartphone Tracking – Theft Deterrent gone awry as Thieves know how to stop the software

Therein lays the risk to the smartphone thief. As soon as the smartphone goes live, it’ll start to hunt for a Network or alert the user that it has a SIM missing, hence the precaution of throwing away the SIM. If the smartphone has tracking Apps installed AND the original SIM is still installed, it’ll start broadcasting its GPS location.

This can be sending email or Data from the installed tracking App via the 3G/4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) Data Service, GPRS (Global Packet Radio System), EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) or even via SMS (Short Messaging Service) or Voice Channels to the customer’s email account or Tracking App API, which may be a Cloud Based Website.

Armed with this info, they can inform the ISCF or JCF aka the Jamaican Police and they’ll just zoom in on the location and apprehend who they hope is the persons with the stolen smartphone.  

Most of the time they’ll just bump into a regular smartphone unlocker such as “David”, who is also apparently so skilled that he can also reset the fifteen (15) digit IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) in most smartphones as described in “Phone thieves bypassing security systems”, Published Monday April 14, 2014, by Tyrone Thompson, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is worrying, as it suggests that the local Telecom Providers aren’t registering and blocking IMEI’s that are not registered on their Network. Quite simply, someone with a stolen smartphone, for example, can have their smartphone erased and re-registered with a different IMEI.

This makes it come up as a feature phone when you query the IMEI in a Global Database such as the free use IMEI Number Database Website like a feature phone when it’s actually a smartphone, even when using *#06#!

Some smartphone thieves may recover Data i.e. pictures, phone number contact information from the smartphone, particularly those that have a SD Card. If they can positively identify the person and the information recovered is of a nature that it can be used to blackmail the target, they may end up getting a “link” from the thief seeking money in exchange for not revealing the information.

Thieves making money from smartphone theft resale and Blackmail! Sounds like the making of a decent Jamaican Spy thriller!

Jamaican Police Tracking Jamaicans – Police ill-informed as usual but may be able to abuse access to information

This article also makes it plain that the Jamaican Police do have the capability of tracking people via GSM Triangulation using information passed on to them from the Telecom Provider, albeit dependent on a Court Order as I’d predicted long ago in my blog article entitled “Mobile Triangulation without GPS - a solution to crime under our noses”.

After all, if Telecom Provider Digicel can go into Business with Irish-owned f6 to offer GPS Vehicle Tracking and piggyback the Data over their GSM (Global System Mobile) Voice Channels, 3G/4G LTE Data Service, GPRS, EDGE or even via SMS as described in my blog article entitled “Irish f6 and Digicel Business partner to offer Fleet Management and Vehicle Tracking Services - St. Patrick's Day Blood Ties and the Luck of the Irish to Rob the Mob in Jamaica”, then it suggests that can also give that information to the Jamaican Police as well.

In fact, according to very ill-informed Inspector Warren Williams of the Organized Crime Investigative Division (OCID), quote: “By law they are required to provide communications Data for investigative purposes, as the Telecommunications Act stipulates that this is a condition for them being able to operate in the country. So once that information is available, law enforcement can then use it to their benefit, because one has to remember the service provider is not in the business of fighting crime, they are in the business of making money”.

I say ill-informed, as in Jamaica, unlocking smartphones isn’t illegal. Once unlocked, they are still will work on any Telecom Provider’s Network, as in the competitive Voice and Data Industry, the Telecom Provider are “in the business of making money”.

They’re not going to stop unregistered smartphones with unknown IMEI’s from operating on their Network, even though they may be losing money from the fact that these smartphone users do not sign up for a Data Plan. So ditto too for a smartphone that has had its IMEI changed, as it’s not the IMEI that determines access to Jamaican Telecom Provider’s Networks, but the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) and the associated IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identification) on that SIM Card.

Still, with this access, it’s not inconceivable that the Jamaican Police can create a false case or situation against someone and use it as a pretext to obtain Mobile phone Records under the Telecommunications Act as I’d pointed out in my blog article entitled “Digicel's Voicemail Problems as their MINSAT and DWS Databases get hacked by Robin Hood - Upgrade Voicemail to Paid Advertising and Fiber Optic Backhaul as it's A good Day to Die Hard”.

CTIA ‘s Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment –  US Govt ID Registration by Telecom Providers needed  

Evidence of this fact can be seen from scant regard paid to the problem of stolen smartphones in the US of A. The CTIA, the Trade group representing American Telecom Providers only recently committed to the idea of a standard pre-installed remote shutdown App called the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program.

This would be a voluntary app on all their smartphones to allow users to track and disable their smartphones if stolen as stated in “Smartphone industry commits to antitheft measures amid calls for 'kill switch'”, published April 15, 2014 2:15 PM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

But this was after a lot of pressuring from the Public and the US Government to do so. However, the move was met with huge criticism by the New York Attorney General and San Francisco District Attorney, quote: “While CTIA's decision to respond to our call for action by announcing a new voluntary commitment to make theft-deterrent features available on smartphones is a welcome step forward, it falls short of what is needed to effectively end the epidemic of smartphone theft. We strongly urge CTIA and its members to make their antitheft features enabled by default on all devices, rather than relying on consumers to opt-in”.

Their complaint was that the CTIA made the "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" program voluntary when it should be mandatory. My complaint is that the Telecom Providers need to be able to block IMEI’s that are unregistered and forces such phone instrument owners to come in and have them registered with a SSD (Social Security Number) or other suitable Government Identification.

Ditto the same thing in Jamaica as well using GOJ (Government of Jamaica) Picture ID, as I’ve been pointing out for a long time as stated in my blog article entitled “MNP and MRSI - How it leads to Mobile Number Portability and Crime Eradication in Jamaica”.

The lack of a Telecom Regulator as pointed out in my blog article entitled “New Telecom Regulator finally coming by July 2014 - New Telecom Provider looking for stability in the Jamaican Telecoms Market post-LNP and MNP by May 2014”, however, means that this issues will not be addressed anytime soon, even at the basic level it has been addressed in the US of A.

LIME chooses AWS for 4G LTE – AWS Link Budget difference reduces Shadowing as It’s all about Optimization and Human Nature

“All of the major, and even some minor populations and households can avail themselves of 4G. We're going to be vastly superior to what we have today”

Managing Director of LIME Gary Sinclair in his interview with the Financial Gleaner dated Friday April 11th 2014

Telecom Provider LIME has decided to take the AWS Spectrum and utilize it to launch 4G LTE (long Term Evolution), despite any negative Press surrounding their decision to use what’s considered very difficult Spectrum to utilize as stated in “LIME Jamaica makes big bet on AWS Spectrum”, Published Friday April 11, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Specifically, they purchased the following Blocks of Frequency and its associated 15 year license for a tidy sum of US$30 million:

1.      12 MHz Band consisting of Spectrum from 1710 MHz to 1722 MHz
2.      12 MHz Band consisting of Spectrum from 2110 MHz to 2122 MHz 

It’s pretty much equivalent to the 700 MHz Band 17 that was granted to Telecom Provider Digicel, in that it’s 12 MHz is size.  The difference here being that Telecom Provider took 1 Block of 12 MHz whereas Telecom Provider LIME took 2 non-adjacent Blocks of Spectrum.

There seems to be some confusion though between the actions of the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining, Telecom Provider LIME and the SMA (Spectrum Management Authority).

Apparently, the SMA has declared they’ve not issued any such Spectrum License for any Blocks of AWS Spectrum to Telecom Provider LIME, to quote their emailed response to the Financial Gleaner:  “At present, no Spectrum in the AWS Band has been licensed. Consideration is also being given to making frequencies in the 1700/2100 MHz Band (AWS-3) available for licensing”.

LIME chooses to go 4G LTE – HSDPA+ plans refashioned as Jamaicans falling in love with Data

Telecom Provider LIME upgrade of their 3G Network to 4G LTE is really a change of direction from their plans to go HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access Plus) Release 7 (64-QAM) to a full on 4G LTE Network as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME and Digicel have purchase AWS and 700 MHZ Spectrum for 4G LTE - Spectrum Purchase by the Number with Strings Attached as Ministry gets kitty donations from Local Telcos”.

That’s clearly obvious from their figure of US$80 million, which C&W PLC, their Parent company, had gifted them back in 2011 for a December 2012 launch as I’d pointed out in my blog article entitled LIME's 4G plans are really a HSDPA+ Release 7 Upgrade - Telecom Provider LIME’s Deception as HSDPA+ is really just a faster 3G Plan from the past”.

Back then, the plan was to use the influx of tourists into the islands as the main users of the faster HSDPA+ or H+ Network for short. But since the MTR (Mobile Termination Rate) was adjusted by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation), Telecom Provider LIME has seen a 25% increase in its Customer Base as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME experiences 25% increase in Profits due to MTR - 4G LTE and FTTH like Bahamas with IPTV Streaming LIME TV will give LIME 3 Days to Kill” to their current number of 700,000 customers!

Thanks also in part to Telecom Provider Digicel for their launch of DL600 and DL700 smartphones, the appetites of most Jamaicans for Data Services was whetted by these low-end JA$10,000 budget smartphones as stated in my blog article entitledJamaicans fall in love with Digicel's DL600 and DL700 during Christmas 2013 - Sub-US$100 smartphones driving rapid smartphone adoption in Jamaica as Manufacturing is Possible”.

Positive feedback from the Bahamas launch of 4G LTE as described in my blog article entitled “Bahamas Telecommunications Company launched 4G LTE on Valentine's Day - Jamaicans need UNCHR Right to Broadband Access needed to empower Jamaicans before 4G LTE can go National” may have also changed their minds as well, making them realize after the Christmas of 2013 that many Jamaicans were indeed interested in paying for Wireless Broadband.

AWS vs 700 MHz – Link Budget for AWS different from the US of A due to reduce Shadowing

But are these higher frequency Block of Spectrum up to the Task? Short answer, yes!

Telecom Provider LIME merely has to upgrade the Cell Sites in their intended coverage area with the new Firmware and Circuit Boards that will enable their Ericsson 3G BBU (Base Band Units) to function with the 4G LTE Spectrum.

Remember, like Telecom Provider Digicel, Telecom Provider LIME uses Ericsson as its Telecom Equiptment Supplier of Choice as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME outsources Network Maintenance to Ericsson - The Lone Rangers in Telecoms may have to Tag Team to get a 700Mhz license for 4G LTE”.

So they don’t need to purchase all new Telecom Equipment, merely to upgrade their existing one from 3G to 4G LTE with new Agisson or Andrews Antennas capable of handling the new Frequencies. Additionally, they’ll also need to upgrade all Backhaul Network to Fiber Optic to handle the Peak Traffic associated with 4G LTE.

Finally, they’ll also have to make sure that the Secondary Power Backup system is preferably Solar or Wind Turbine powered, specifically for the Backhaul Network as argued in my blog article entitled “Phillip Paulwell allocates 700Mhz and Fiber Optic License for LTE - Broadcasters effectively on notice for Digital Switch Over”, as at such High Speeds that 4G LTE Networks are capable of, Data Failures and outages are not tolerated by Business Customers.

The Financial Gleaner has quoted the SMA in emails requesting information on Telecom Provider LIME’s AWS Spectrum as were told they’d have some challenges as according to the SMA, AWS needs three Cell Towers to provide the equivalent 4G LTE Coverage of a single 700 MHz 4G LTE Cell Tower.

The concerns about the Spectrum being too high and requiring more Towers as mentioned by SMA (Spectrum Management Authority) are completely false. Interesting comments that have elicited some defensive albeit correct posturing from Managing Director of LIME Gary Sinclair who was quoted as saying that the AWS Spectrum is  “going to provide us with maximum cost efficiency”.

Truth is, the SMA’s comments are based on the experiences of Telecom Provider AT&T operating in the Cities in the US of A using the 2100 MHz Band back in 2007 to 2008, where there are a lot of high Rise buildings. These buildings contain a significant amount of Steel and concrete and thus are not transparent to frequencies above 1 GHz or 1000 MHz.

However, they suffer more reflection than absorption, which explains many quirks about these early 2100 MHz 3G Data Networks where persons have spoken anecdotal stories of standing in particular spots and getting coverage in New York and San Francisco, California, only to move somewhere else and the 3G Data Signal drops

Consequently, when they’d deployed their 3G Wireless Networks in the US of A, they had problems with reception, resulting in many Americans who owned AT&T Apple iPhones to curse them for their poor Data Service. In response, Telecom Provider AT&T eventually made the decision to purchase Blocks of Spectrum in the 850 MHz Band and had customers having difficulty using their 3G go to Times Square to use free Wi-Fi Internet.  

Good to note too that Apple also redesigned the Apple iPhone 4 with a new Antenna design that improved the coverage by enabling the smartphone to pick up reflected signals as chronicled in my blog article entitled Apple iPhone and the Loop Antenna - Strange Encounters of the Third Kind and “Apple and the Antenna - Black Sabbath and much ado about nothing”.

This resulted in an improvement in the reception. However, the bandwidth is a little less for 850 MHz and even more so for the 700 MHz Blocks of Spectrum, a minor loss for the gain in increased indoor coverage. All this merely suggests is that higher Spectrum is useful for carrying Wireless Broadband Data, with Spectrum below 1 GHz being able to handle slower speed Data e.g. 3G and Voice Services.

A good example of such a service is Digicel’s very own 4G Broadband Internet service, which is based on WiMaX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) Protocols and uses the 2.5 GHz Band, very close to the Bands that Telecom Provider LIME has chosen.

Digicel’s 4G Broadband modems work ok and deliver good service but work best when located near to a window or area in the house with little metallic structural interference. But you’ll have to get used to the Troubleshooting Procedure as it relates to handling your WiMaX Modem as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to setup and troubleshoot your Digicel 4G Broadband Modem”.

Good to note that in the USA of A, which is flat and lacking of any significant terrain features, the AWS is used by Telecom Provider in the country areas, not in the Cities, to provide 4G LTE Services. The SMA is thus being very disingenuous in suggesting that AWS Spectrum costs more, when in fact, it really comes down to a matter of the difference in the Link Budget (Plan for Voice and Data Spectrum Deployment from point-to-point or point-to-multi-point).

Thus the Link Budget in the US of A and Jamaica would be different as here we have sunny weather and drier air and more mountainous terrain as opposed to the US of A where they have more moister air and temperate climate with flatter terrain.

Telecom Engineer and AWS – It’s all about Optimization and the typical Customer’s Data Usage

Telecom Engineers can take advantage of these differences in Link Budget between Jamaica and America when installing 4G LTE antennas by placing them on high elevations or hills, thus increasing the range of a typical Tower without boosting power.

In addition, Optimization exercises, which are constantly ongoing for any Telecom Network involving the adjusting Tilt angles of the Andrew and Agisson Antennas as well as adjusting coverage frequencies. These are all part and parcel of the Telecom Maintenance, with 4G LTE Maintenance being added to that list.

In addition, in the US of A, the cities aren’t suitable for AWS due to the shadowing effect of the high rise buildings, but excellent for use in the flat, rolling countryside. Hence, the Americans are already planning AWS deployments in these low-lying, flat countryside areas as a Last –Mile solution in what are called WiSPs as described in “Meet WISP, the wireless future of Internet service”, published Dec 2, 2013 3:30 AM by Eric Geier, PCWorld. Ditto that too for AWS in Jamaica and thus with benefits to Telecom Provider LIME, with the added benefit of higher Bandwidth.

Also the usage habits of humans come into play. The typical engrossed Data user on his smartphone will often stop stock still while walking and messaging, deep in concentration. This is atypical of any person on their smartphone using Data Applications, the little screen holding them in rapt attention to the point of ignoring all about them.

This as humans cannot multi-task in any activity that requires the eyes and both hands. Hands-free phone conversations, however, require less mental agility, making it easy to do both. To that end, Telecom Provider LIME need not worry about dropped Data connections for users in the future using smartphones or Tablets to access their 4G LTE Network; they’ll be standing stock still!

As for the same of smartphones that support the AWS Spectrum, most smartphones and Tablets that have the ability to access 4G LTE are Quad Band. Thus in choosing 1710 MHz to 1722 MHz and 2110 MHz to 2122 MHz, Telecom Provider LIME has chosen a commonly used Spectrum that’s already trending in the US of A as a common choice for 4G LTE as mentioned in my blog article entitled “LIME and Digicel have purchase AWS and 700 MHZ Spectrum for 4G LTE - Spectrum Purchase by the Number with Strings Attached as Ministry gets kitty donations from Local Telcos”.

All they merely have to do is just make sure that devices that use the AWS
Spectrum for Data Services are mainly of two types:

1.      Mi-Fi with fairly large antennas connected to a Power Supply
2.      Fixed Units at home where the customer doesn’t do a lot of moving about
3.      Smartphones that use the Spectrum that they’ve purchased

Hopefully, they’ll also offer other services such as Fixed Line Telephony similar to Digicel DigiHome as described in my blog article entitled “Digicel rolls out DigiHome, their first Residential Postpaid Fixed Line Service - Ramp up for Landline Number Portability and LIME’s Homefone XPress”.

Telecom Provider LIME can thus provide reliable 4G LTE Service to Jamaica and with enough bandwidth to handle the traffic, once they’ve significantly upgraded their Backhaul Network to handle the increased Data Traffic with a Fiber Optic Backhaul as Telecom Provider Digicel is currently doing as stated in “Digicel to build sophisticated underground fibre network”, published Wednesday March 26, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Digicel to invest US$85 million in 4G LTE Network - 25% of Total revenue from ICT as 4G LTE Investments designed to weather the coming Summer WhatsApp Storm

“We now have nearly one million active users using data on their mobile phones in Jamaica, and we experienced a greater than 150 per cent increase in subscribers on our fourth-generation network using data in our last financial year......"Jamaica is picking up on global trends and that can only be good for Jamaica as a whole”

CEO of Digicel Barry O'Brien during an address to the Jamaica Employers' Federation latest CEO Breakfast Forum on Wednesday April 9th 2014

Telecom Provider Digicel is pushing ahead with their ambitious Plans to launch 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) and expand their ICT (Information and Computing Technology) footprint despite the coming challenge to their Voice Services as stated in “Digicel aims to double ICT business”, Published Friday April 11, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Telecom Provider Digicel’s Plans and their Roadmap for the next eighteen (18) months was laid out during an address to the Jamaica Employers' Federation latest CEO Breakfast Forum on Wednesday April 9th 2014 by CEO of Digicel Barry O'Brien.

Not one to back down from a challenge, they’re instead embracing the coming changes in the Telecoms Industry in Jamaica by WhatsApp as indicated in the article “WhatsApp driving mobile data boom”, published Friday, April 11, 2014 BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

After all, it was expected, as Voice Services wasn’t going to last forever to quote Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien: “Core revenues are under pressure from VoIP communications and downward pricing pressure. We have to reinvent ourselves constantly”.

Their challenge is the coming of VoIP Calling over 3G/4G LTE Wireless Broadband Network in the Second Quarter of 2014 from popular Mobile Social Network WhatsApp, now the property of Facebook as stated in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp VoIP Calling in Second Quarter of 2014 - WhatsApp kills International Calling at the Advent of Facetime-eqsue Premium Video VoIP Calling on smartphones”.

Digicel aims for 25% of revenue from ICT  - US$85 million Investments to weather the coming WhatsApp Storm

Their focus on IT (Information Technology) seems to be paying off and was a decision made just in the nick of time. By “focus” I’m referring to their sale of Digicel Branded smartphones, the DL600 and the DL700 as pointed out in my blog article entitledJamaicans fall in love with Digicel's DL600 and DL700 during Christmas 2013 - Sub-US$100 smartphones driving rapid smartphone adoption in Jamaica as Manufacturing is Possible”.

Good to note that Telecom Provider Digicel had already put out statistics in March 2014 for the end of the First Quarter indicating that they were seeing phenomenal Growth as stated in my blog article entitled Digicel reports increases in Data Services, DL600 and DL700 sales in 2013 - LIME's all about the Benjamins from 4G LTE making Digicel Captain America The Winter Soldier”. This despite losses incurred due to the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) MTR (Mobile Termination Rate) drop.

Well, if you were impressed by that article, here are some stats to back that claim up of the JA$10,000 DL600 and DL700 smartphones being game-changers in terms of increasing Data Adoption:

1)      10% of Digicel's Revenue is from ICT, which covers Wireless Broadband Services such as their Digicel “4G” Network
2)      50% increase in ICT revenues in Financial Year 2013-2014
3)      80% penetration of their Digicel “4G” - really a 3G - Network
4)      60,000 DL600 and DL700 sold in March 2014

The ambitions Plan are being financed with a total of US$85 million, the same amount they’d Planned to spend back in March 2011 some three (3) years ago when Telecom Provider Digicel had acquired CLARO 3G Network as I’d chronicled in my blog article entitled Digicel’s US$85 million HSDPA+ and WiMaX 4G Upgrade - Wizards of Waverly Place Fast Five Showdown” and “Of ATC Strikes and Digicel 3G+ Upgrades - Pushing Tin in Eerie, Indiana”.

Good to note, too, that like Telecom Provider LIME, Telecom Provider Digicel has also changed their minds from launching a HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access Plus) Release 7 (64-QAM) to a full on 4G LTE Network as stated in my blog article entitled “LIME and Digicel have purchase AWS and 700 MHZ Spectrum for 4G LTE - Spectrum Purchase by the Number with Strings Attached as Ministry gets kitty donations from Local Telcos”.

Currently, their Cell site Count stands as follows:

1)      1600 estimated Digicel owned and Co-Location (shared) Cellsites
2)      790 Cell sites Digicel owns
3)      418 of that numbers are already “4G” - which is really 3G - enabled
4)      187 of that number to be enabled and upgraded from “4G” to 4G LTE
5)      605 total Cell Sites to have 4G LTE
6)      76.59% of Digicel owned Cell Sites to go 4G LTE

Their US$85 million has now been redirected to do the following:

1)      US$25 million (JA$2.73 billion) for Telecom Provider Digicel's 15 year license for Band 17 of the 700MHz for their 4G LTE deployment
2)      JA$9.36 billion in License Fees, of which Telecom Provider Digicel has paid JA$5.48 billion
3)      605 estimated Digicel owned and Co-Location (shared) Cellsites to upgraded to 4G LTE
4)      JA$600 million to build an Underground Fiber Optic Network to interconnect ICT , Call Centers as well as their 4G LTE Networks islandwide as stated in “Digicel to build sophisticated underground fibre network”, published Wednesday March 26, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner

With this upgrade, Telecom Provider Digicel’s ICT Ambitions are clearly laid out, as they aim to get ICT to constitute 25% increase in total Revenues to make up for the impending shortfall in International and Local Voice Calling Revenues.