Above: Digicel’s Desha Clifford, Director of Legal, Chandrika Samaroo,Technical Director, Lori Ann Glasgow, Senior Regional Marketing Manager and Penny Gomez, Regional Communications Manager at the company’s launch of its new LTE service at the Imax theatre. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.
It took Digicel a while to get down to the nuts and bolts of its launch of LTE service in Trinidad and Tobago.
By the time media guests David Welch and Leslie Moore collected their door prizes of Samsung S9 smartphones, the assembled media had been treated to an actual song and dance, courtesy of hip-hop dance duo Dren, Andre and Rene Arneaud.
So to hard facts then.
Digicel’s LTE data service for smartphones and mobile devices is immediately available for customers in north, central and south-east Trinidad and in the eastern half of Tobago. Coverage down the islands is facilitated by a transmitter on Monos Island.
Digicel has built the new LTE service using their existing spectrum allocation after waiting for years for their request for the 700 MHZ spectrum to be approved.
Coverage of the rest of Trinidad and Tobago is promised by the end of 2018. LTE users will see their data speeds drop to 4G and below in areas which aren’t currently covered in the network map.
Digicel has invested TT$250 million in this buildout of the latest LTE technologies.
The company promises speeds of 10 times that of its existing 4G network with practical line testing delivering 60 megabits per second of a possible 75. Digicel Technical Director Chandrika Samaroo promised that there will be no data capping on unlimited plans.
Some iPhone users on Digicel’s network have experienced a gray screen claiming that their devices are incompatible with the new LTE network.
Samaroo said that the company is in talks with Apple about a fix for the problem due in the next version of iOS.
Current Digicel users with a data plan can check if the SIM they are using is compatible with LTE. If not, a SIM replacement will be required for connectivity.
The baseline plan costs TT$350 VAT inclusive, and offers unlimited data and Digicel voice calls and 300 minutes of ‘anywhere’ calls.
Switchers from bmobile get a 25 percent discount on the first three months of their new plan (3 months for prepaid users, 6 months for postpaid plans).
The company also announced a video competition that will invite its users to show how they use the new network with TT$60,000 in prizes at stake.
The new campaign for the LTE data service is ‘Now dat is LTE,’ an acknowledgement that the company is driving forward competitively in an environment in which its rival, bmobile, has been building out an LTE network riding on its 4G hardware and existing frequency allocation since December 2016.
[Updated since publication with additional caption information, promised speeds and clarification about spectrum allocation.]