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Mobile companies ramp up services
There’s been much ado about connectivity in the air lately with Digicel launching its new 4G service more than a week ago and bMobile, the mobile arm of majority state-owned TSTT, rolling out its bzones around the country. Between those two offerings, you can stay pretty connected when on the go, via mobile devices.
All you have to do is choose your smart mobile device, whether it be Blackberry, Android, iOS, Windows Mobile and whatever else is available these days. Each device manufacturer is racking up its overall offering in a bid to win more market share, as we all want to stay connected on the go. Whether it is a tablet or a smartphone, the Internet is a must-have for maximising these devices and today, there are two main ways to connect to the three Ws: over Wi-Fi (when available) or over the cellular network you subscribe to.
Lisa Agard, executive vice president of bMobile Services and Company Retail Distribution, says the company is using a three-pronged approach “utilising Wi-Fi hot zones, WiMax and 4G ready mobile broadband to maximise public access.” Two years ago, the company launched 4G WiMax technology with a price tag of $0.5 billion with a view to developing “a world-class broadband infrastructure.”
Via its bzones, bmobile is now offering WiFi in several areas, capable of speeds equivalent to 4G. This service is free to all bMobile customers. Areas currently covered include Maracas Bay, Chaguaramas and Ariapita Avenue and there’s the promise for an additional 20 or so in the near future.
These areas are known to be high-traffic entertainment areas, where mobile users are more likely to make use of social media platforms to photo-share, whether it is on Facebook or Twitter. They check in at various locations, using Facebook or Four Square. They tag their friends in photos and contact them via messaging platforms such as Blackberry’s messenger service, BBM, or What’s App messenger, which is mobile platform agnostic.
The bzones will provide an additional channel for connectivity when customers are in this area, leaving the traditional network for voice only, and so mitigating the risk of missed or dropped calls. Digicel, the lone international player in the local mobile arena, has just launched its new 4G network.
Their 4G comes in the flavour of HSPA+ technology, Digicel’s new CEO, John Delves said. “With this investment in our Trinidad and Tobago business, we have now built the first and most reliable 4G network in the country, giving customers the fastest mobile data speeds, all backed by Digicel’s best service and best value.”
Subscribers can enjoy supersonic speeds on their smartphone through Digicel, but have to subscribe to the service and there is a payment attached. Packages start at $199 a month for postpaid subscribers and include a $25 Day Pass for prepaid customers. The Irish company’s offering does not require you to be in a specific area to access its 4G technology, as it stays with you and your device wherever you go. Its coverage now stands at 75 per cent of the country.
Mobile Internet and by extension, 24/7 connectivity is fast becoming almost as important to some of us as food or even air. Seeing that our two mobile operators are now providing us with world-class technology, are we making us of these advancements? The m-evolution goes much further than watching movies on your mobile device, sending messages and checking in at your favourite bar with Facebook.
m-Services (the “m” being for mobile) are being deployed the world over, improving the way we work, eat, play, study and so much more. In cities such as London and New York, you can use applications on your cellphone to find the nearest taxi, transfer money from one bank account to a next, book airline tickets and subsequently check-in while en route to the airport.
Next week, we will look at how the public and private sectors are making use of the mobile technology that is now available in Trinidad and Tobago.
WHAT IS 4G?
A “G" is simply a generation of wireless technology. Each generation offers significantly faster Internet access than the generation before. Each “G" is incompatible with the previous generation—you have to upgrade your phone to use it. 4G is the fastest to date, allowing you to do more with the Internet on your cellphone—stream movies, download documents, photos, apps, and music. Video calls (once your phone is compatible).
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