DIGICEL first to launch LTE network
Telecommunications company Digicel, on Thursday launched its island-wide Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Saint Lucia; the only such network on island. The network is an upgrade to the previous 4G network and provides faster upload and download internet speeds.
“Today marks a momentous occasion for not only us at Digicel, but most importantly for this country, as we bring to you its very first island-wide LTE network,” said CEO Siobhan James Alexander.
“We have listened to the pleas for faster speed, improved service, better value, and we are committing to a transformational experience to our people of Saint Lucia,” she added. “The island-wide LTE network will deliver up to ten times faster than your current 4G service, affording you connectivity anytime, and anywhere.”
The new network can only be used when on a prepaid, or a postpaid Digicel plan. The company is also introducing a new feature that offers customers up to 50gigs of data with two hours of free video streaming every day.
The process of joining the new network first requires users to upgrade their SIM cards at a Digicel outlet, free of charge. This change is required as the outdated SIM cards are unable to handle the new network.
“We have a lot of tenured persons on our network,” said the CEO, “customers who’ve been there fifteen years and ten years. Ten years ago the technology was 2G which was very analog.”
Additionally: “There’s a built-in speed into the SIM; these SIMS can’t now interact with the new network and so it’s imperative that the first step is to get a new SIM. If you have an old SIM you won’t see the network.”
Step two requires customers to own a smartphone capable of handling the network. “We are actually messaging persons to inform how to get a mac address on their phone. We then send you to our website and it will let you know if your phone is compatible or not.
“We recognize that there are customers who buy their phones from other carriers; we encourage them to visit the website to understand if their phones are not compatible.”
The final step involves changing the network settings on your smartphone to the ‘LTE’ option. “Most of us probably had 3G/2G; you need to change it.”
Although the new network is now available, customers are not forced to make the switch and can remain on their current service. “We haven’t gotten rid of 2G or 3G, we won’t shut down the other two networks. The switch won’t be mandatory; we won’t force you but we would encourage you.”
Digicel CEO Siobhan James Alexander at Thursday’s press launch.