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FLOW to deliver faster Internet but mum on timeline

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Telecom FLOW Jamaica remains mum on a timeline for launching a higher-speed mobile Internet network, despite initially revealing tests in January.

The company is lagging chief rival Digicel Jamaica, which invested $6 billion to provide a faster service, using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, and is now rolling out products to its subscribers.

"We'll roll out the LTE network when the time's right ... stay tuned," said FLOW Jamaica Managing Director Garfield Sinclair following the launch of Digicel's service last Thursday.

FLOW offers a High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+), which it dubs 4G. Typical user speeds on HSPA is 4 to 15 megabits per second (Mbps) at peak periods, according to the telecom's website.

The speed achieved by browsers will depend on traffic load. For instance, a test done in the early morning on Constant Spring Road achieved a speed of 7.44 mbps for FLOW, compared to a 24.4 Mbps on Digicel's LTE service.




Flow celebrated its one-millionth mobile subscriber in May. Sinclair recently acknowledged that mobile applications, led by Instagram and Snapchat, are fuelling local Internet revenues. He said FLOW will look to Snapchat, which uses heavy video content, as a data driver in the short to medium term.

The Office of Utilities Regulation recently reported that Internet revenue for the telecoms industry, which includes mobile and fixed broadband, rose beyond $4 billion in the second quarter of 2015, or 153 per cent higher, year on year.

That equates to the fastest of all business segments at telecom providers, according to the regulator's Telecommunications Market Information Report.

Telecoms earned $19.9 billion in total revenues, split across voice mobile, fixed and Internet segments for the 2015 second quarter.