1) The implementation of Number Portability
The press release stated that the three (3) major telecommunications providers on island: Digicel, LIME and Flow, have signed off to Number Portability - where a user will retain his/her telephone number if they switch to a different telecommunications provider.
The move is expected to facilitate increased competitiveness in the island's telecoms industry
LIME had previously expressed concern when Digicel announced in January that they will not be running a concurrent Claro network and so Claro customers could switch to Digicel and still keep their numbers.
(This was in response to Digicel's announcement that the government had given them the go-ahead to completely shut down the Claro network in their takeover of that company, as it would be inefficient and expensive to operate the two networks.
LIME was at that time offering free SIM cards and mobile data plans of JMD $100/day to Claro customers who wished to switch to the LIME network).
Number Portability will be applicable to both mobile and broadband networks, so users should be able to switch amongst networks without any problem.
2) New Telecoms Regulator
There is to be a new telecoms regulatory body in Jamaica, as the Office of Utilities Regulations will no longer be regulating telecommunications on island.
(However, investigations are still underway to assess the organizational capacity that will be needed to facilitate this change to Jamaica's regulatory sector and the results aren't expected until August of this year).
3) Universal Broadband
Digicel, LIME and FLOW have committed to providing islandwide broadband coverage.
Well, I'm not too sure how ground-breaking this bit of news is, as two (2) of these three (3) networks already have the entire island covered with broadband service -4G for LIME and cable broadband for Flow.
Digicel has limited 4G broadband coverage across the major towns on island, but is expected to fully roll out its 4G mobile service by April of this year...and will, due to competitive pressure, have no other choice than to make it available islandwide, by year-end...a feat made easier by their acquisition of Claro's 4G service.
Ok, so what we seem to have above, is a bunch of pronouncements.
...of which the listening public must be forewarned... as no timelines have been given for the implementation of the above changes.
The reality is that pronouncements no. 1) and 2) require a lot of planning, so we'll have we wait to for at least 3-6 months for Number Portability and at least one year for a new telecoms regulator to be instated.
Already LIME's Managing Director - Garfield Sinclair, is claiming that he's been in no meetings involving Technology Minister - Phillip Paulwell and other telecoms providers re the above pronouncements, so maybe the above pronouncements are just the optimistic outlooks of our Technology Minister.
Will keep you updated re this.
(I'd like to thank june21st for the use of his Flickr inset photo above, entitled, "Telecom Tower").
1) Article,"Digicel 4G Broadband FAQs", via Digicel.com, accessed February 15,2012
2) Power 106 FM, February 14,2012
3) Article, "Fight for Claro customers", Jamaica Observer|Business, January 15,2012