LIME has announced that, effective immediately, data prices will be plunging in preparation for the introduction of its 4G mobile network in September.
According to Tony Ritch, general manager of LIME Cayman Islands, the company has also brought forward the rollout of the 4G network in the Sister Islands.
Although the Sister Islands had originally been scheduled to be upgraded to a 4G network early next year, the rollout will now occur at the same time as the rollout in Grand Cayman.
“We’re delighted to announce to Cayman that LIME will be launching this across the entire country, so Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are going to be enjoying the 4G experience as soon as Grand Cayman does.
We’re launching across the entire nation, and while we did originally say it would be launching in the Sister Islands sometime next year, it will in fact be happening within a few short weeks,” Mr. Ritch said.
The changes made to the network in preparation for the move to 4G have also increased data capacity to the point where LIME has been able to introduce a dramatic drop in the cost of data over the network.
For data usage over and above that included in a data plan, or for those post paid customers who did not have a data plan, the cost per megabyte used to be $3.59. This has now been slashed to 30 cents per megabyte.
“In fact, it is a fundamental shift in the price level we had. This is in line with much of what we see across the rest of the world and we think that in terms of the dramatic drop that we’re presenting in the rates we’re enabling a much higher level of utilisation, a much higher level of consumption.
We’re trying to drive the behaviour. We believe we have the network that will enable Cayman to do some wonderful things, but we know that can’t be achieved unless we in fact have great rates,” Mr. Ritch said.
The current EDGE network provides data rates of around 150 kbps, with the new 4G network promising speeds up to 60 times faster. Mobile devices that are 3G enabled will also be able to use the increased speed offered by the network.
“On every mobile device you’ve got, once we turn on the network, you will get to your optimisation,” said Julie Hutton, marketing manager with LIME.
The speed of the network promises smooth streaming of videos over the Internet, reliable video conferencing from mobile devices and fast file downloads.
In line with the trend in other countries, LIME will not be offering unlimited data packages on its 4G network, due to the impact a small percentage of high power users can have on the browsing experience of regular users.
“Just a small percentage of customers can create a really poor experience for the masses, and in terms of an operator building additional capacity into the network, it takes tens of millions of dollars for just that 10 per cent. So 10 per cent heavy users can create a nightmare experience for 90 per cent of users,” Mr. Ritch said.
He was also quick to point out that the mobile network was not intended as a replacement for home broadband for high power users.
“We will be offering very attractive packages such as the 7GB package and the 3GB package which is going to cater to just about the vast majority of our users.
The overage rates are not bad, so if you go over a bit it is not going to create bill shock, but certainly in terms of high power utilisation, whether it’s video editing, streaming or financial stock watching, my suggestion is to choose LIME’s fixed line service,” Mr. Ritch said.
He said part of the company’s mission in the build up to the launch will be to educate users on data usage, as the increased speed will allow users to burn through their data plan quite quickly.
“We’re cautioning customers, have fun but consume responsibly and also start to educate yourselves in terms of exactly what does it mean in terms of data consumption for emails, for photos, for downloading a high definition movie for example. So a lot more information will be provided to customers about consuming responsibly but having fun on the network,” Mr. Ritch said.