While TT is the benchmark for cellular service and data plans in the Caribbean, the country is not yet ready for what is considered the future of cellphone data – 5G.
So said key staff of Digicel TT at a press conference on Monday at its offices on Maraval Road, Port of Spain.
Chandrika Samaroo, operations director, explained that while 5G could be considered the next generation of mobile technology, there are still many factors needed to ensure that most customers would be able to enjoy it.
“For any technology to make sense for any user, we need to have the right resources,” Samaroo said. “So we need the right spectrum to do it, and the users need the right devices – you would need to have the right handset.
“We don’t want to deploy or make an investment for just a few users. We want something that most of our users can benefit.”
CEO Jabbor Kayumov explained that 5G technology, at this point, is mostly used for corporate customers and is utilised by IOT (internet of things) networks. He added that while Digicel TT was the operator most prepared to provide 5G coverage, less than five per cent of active handsets are capable of using 5G.
“When it comes to 5G, it is a really good marketing topic.
"But it is like buying a Formula 1 car for the road. It would be just a toy that you cannot really use.” Kayumov said.
“We just want to find the right time where the consumer will actually enjoy it. As soon as we see our consumers need the technology...I think that Digicel is the most prepared operator with a fibre footprint.
"We are trying to be more rational in our approach, so we will guarantee that quality comes first.”
Quality has come first, said Samaroo and Kayumov.
Digicel staff boasted of speeds for mobile and fixed devices that are twice as fast as their competition. They also upgraded their network, resulting in a 99 per cent 3G coverage and enhanced indoor coverage, and doubled the capacity in over 100 areas.
Also, with a new network spectrum from the Telecommunications Authority and an activated carrier aggregation programme (which shifts the highest signals to the areas which need it most on a real-time setting), the company's LTE Advanced network
has increased in capacity by 150 per cent, giving customers a maximum theoretical speed of 190 mbps.
LTE Advanced, as explained by Digicel staff, was the next evolutionary step in data and networks . People with state-of-the-art handsets, like a Samsung S9 and higher, will be best able to take advantage of the benefits of the network, including faster internet speeds while on mobile and better streaming.
A speed check at the press conference indicated Digicel's speed at the time was about 181 mbps.
Digicel staff boasted once again that, according to OOKLA – a mobile and broadband network-testing application – Digicel is the fastest network for 2019. The company won awards in 2016 and 2018 for its network speeds.
Digicel staff thanked TT customers for “keeping them honest” with consistent feedback through Facebook and other social media platforms.
“Most of our initiatives and ideas are actually coming from our customers, so we are keeping our doors and ears open to listen to our customers and give them what they are asking for,” Kayumov said. “That is another commitment we have made for our customers. We will be listening to our customers and ensuring that all products are based on their needs.”