MiPhone Preparing EV-DO Launch for This Year

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Jamaican mobile operator MiPhone plans to roll out EV DO mobile internet services as early as August of this year the company's senior VP of corporate development Alex Hill told BNamericas.

With the new services, based on CDMA1x EV-DO technology provided by Chinese equipment manufacturer ZTE, MiPhone will target a mass audience with the data offering.

The company sees opportunities in many parts of the country that still lack DSL broadband coverage and from people who want better service quality.

"I think we will get a fair amount of people converting from [DSL] because the DSL service still isn't very reliable," Hill said.

Additionally the service will provide an alternative to internet services provided by fixed line incumbent Cable & Wireless Jamaica, which Hill says is still perceived in a negative light by the public due to its days as a monopoly.

Currently MiPhone has around 200,000 subscribers and only a small percentage actually use data services provided by its CDMA 1x network. While the current network does offer data, it does not provide the user capacity or internet speeds that MiPhone requires to satisfy customer demand.

Most of the data users will likely use the service with their laptops rather than on mobile handsets, Hill added.

The company chose a fixed fee to sell the service instead of metering bandwidth usage. MiPhone will offer either 30-day or 24-hour plans.

The main competitors for the data service are not likely to be other mobile operators but rather cable companies such as Flow Jamaica or internet service providers. However, Hill expects the cable operators to invest more in building out densely populated areas, and that with the wireless services MiPhone can get to customers with the data services ahead of the other players."

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Tags: zte  cable & wireless 

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