LIME: It’s a data world after all

In November 2003, Cable & Wireless revolutionised communications in the Cayman Islands by offering the Hiptop, which, through a GSM/GPRS network, became the first integrated mobile telephone/data device.
More than six years later Cable & Wireless is now known as LIME and the Hiptop would be considered a dinosaur in the smartphone world. But LIME is still on the cutting edge when it comes to offering the latest in communications technology, especially when it comes to data and Internet communications.
LIME has upgraded its mobile network capacity this year to be able to meet the increasing customer demand caused by the popularity of BlackBerry phones, iPhones and the seemingly endless list of other smartphones.
LIME Customer Solutions Delivery Coordinator Georgette Reid said the next big improvement will come when a 3G, or 3rd Generation, mobile network is rolled out.
Currently, LIME has a 2-2.5 G network. The 3G network, when it comes, will allow for simultaneous use of speech and data services at much higher data rates. The state-of-the art network will not only facilitate the sending of large data files like photos much more quickly, it will allow for much faster Internet browsing and even streaming on a mobile phone.
Reid said that on a recent trip to the United States where there was a 3 G network, she saw people watching the television news on their smartphones while riding home on subway. That’s the kind of thing 3G can do, and LIME customers won’t have too long to wait.
“It’s already out in Jamaica and it’s inevitable that we will be doing it in Cayman in the very close, foreseeable future,” said Reid, adding that she could safely say it would happen within two years.

As it did with the Hiptop back in 2003, LIME still offers the newest and most technologically advanced mobile phones.
Although it still offers some standard mobile phones, Reid said most of the products being sold now are data-compatible smartphones.
Models can come with features such as cameras – some with flash units – personal organisers, music and video storage and playback capabilities and even GPS networking.
“They’ve pretty much thought of everything,” said Reid of the features.
Smartphones can also accommodate social networking software like Facebook and Twitter and BlackBerry’s popular messenger service.
In addition, downloadable software applications, many of them free, can add everything from games to programmes that allow you to scan product barcodes to compare prices of things like televisions.

Unlike other Internet service providers in Cayman, LIME supplies Internet through lines – either copper or fibre ­– rather than through a wireless network. This allows home and office Internet users to have what basically amounts to a near dedicated Internet connection, rather than having to share bandwidth from a wireless tower with other users.
Adding to that advantage, LIME has also undertaken a phased island-wide Internet network upgrade this year.
Customer Solutions Delivery Coordinator Reynaldo Ysaquirrie said the upgrade involves LIME’s move from an Asynchronous Transfer Mode network to an Ethernet-based technology.
“The effect for the customer is a better experience,” he said.
Among the advantages of Ethernet is that it allows for faster provisioning of service, with installation usually occurring either the same day or within a day or two. With the ATM network, installation sometimes took as much as 10 days, Ysaquirrie said.
An Ethernet-system provides faster and more reliable Internet service because it shortens what is known as ‘loop length’.
“The way ADSL Internet works is the shorter the loop length, the faster the service for the customer,” he said.
LIME Marketing Executive Carolyn Lawe-Smith said faster Internet service with more bandwidth – both advantages of Ethernet – is becoming increasingly important in today’s world.
“People are using the Internet for a lot of things, and a lot of it is very high bandwidth intensive,” she said, citing things like video streaming and movie downloading as examples. “There is also surfing the net, downloading email, listening to music and more. Having more bandwidth means having instantaneous access to these things.”
LIME, which stands for Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment, is working to add more to the entertainment element. An Ethernet-based network will help the company do just that.
“It’s about moving toward being able to offer more entertainment,” she said. “We want to get to the ‘E’ and we want to get there soon.”
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