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Jamaica's Mobile Network Providers: A 2024 Guide

Coverage, Speeds, Prices, let's unpack Jamaica's Mobile Networks and understand which ones are the best

Published: Dec 26, 2023

As we delve into the dynamic world of mobile networks in Jamaica, it's crucial to understand the landscape of providers and their services.

Currently, Jamaica is served by two primary mobile network operators: Digicel Jamaica and Flow (by Cable & Wireless)​​.

This guide will offer insights into their performance, network coverage, and the impending 5G rollout, providing a comprehensive view for anyone needing reliable mobile services in Jamaica.

Digicel Jamaica vs Flow : Overview

Feature

Digicel Jamaica

Flow Jamaica

4G Coverage

92% population coverage​​

Extensive coverage, especially in urban areas

Network Technology

4G LTE on Band 17 (700 MHz), Band 4 (1700 MHz)​​

4G LTE primarily on Band 4 (1700 MHz), Band 12 (700 MHz)​​

Expansion

Expanded 4G to 170 new sites across Jamaica​​

Massive investment in fiber-optic and network expansion​​

Subscribers Growth

Increased by over 200,000 for 4G Mobile network​​

Added 88,700 users in one year, reaching 1,081,000 users​​

User Experience

Strong commitment to internet access for all​​

Recognized for its customer-centric plans and services​​

Digicel Jamaica: Leading with Innovation

Digicel, since its inception in 2001, has established itself as a market leader in Jamaica. Known for running a dual CDMA and GSM network, Digicel has extensive 2G and 3G coverage and initiated 4G/LTE services in 2016. Its LTE network, primarily on Band 17 (700 MHz), expanded its reach to various parts of the island including Kingston, Montego Bay, and other coastal regions.

By 2018, Digicel claimed 4G/LTE coverage for 65% of Jamaicans and introduced LTE on Band 4 (20 MHz bandwidth), complemented by Band 17.

Notably, Digicel was the first to offer HD Voice in Jamaica on its 3G network​​.

Flow Jamaica: Expanding

Flow Jamaica, operated by Cable & Wireless Communications and a subsidiary of Liberty Global, has shown remarkable performance in recent years. With a strong 2G network on 850 MHz and a 3G network on both 850 MHz and 1900 MHz, Flow has made strategic decisions like disabling DC-HSDPA and GSM on 1900 MHz to focus on LTE and 3G.

Its 4G/LTE rollout, which began in the Kingston Metropolitan Area in 2016, now covers significant parts of Jamaica, including Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Flow's primary LTE Band, Band 4 (1700 MHz), offers high speed and network capacity, and the addition of Band 12 (700 MHz) is set to enhance VoLTE services. By early 2020, Flow claimed its LTE network covered 95% of the Jamaican population​​.

In 2019, Flow Jamaica's mobile subscriber base reached over 1.08 million users, demonstrating its continued growth and customer acquisition​​.

The Journey Towards 5G in Jamaica

The deployment of 5G networks in Jamaica is a topic of significant interest and discussion.

As of now, Digicel and Flow are the key players with the largest bandwidths necessary for 5G deployment.

However, challenges in building new transmitter towers due to legislation and the need for a substantial increase in tower numbers are significant hurdles. The government's involvement in facilitating tower erection and funding is deemed crucial for the successful rollout of 5G.

This new technology promises higher speeds, greater capacity, and lower latency than 4G, but its deployment is not without controversy, including concerns about public health and security​​.

As of today, there is no 5G in Jamaica

Choosing the Right Provider: Factors to Consider

In Jamaica, the choice between Digicel and Flow for mobile network services is influenced by individual preferences and needs.

Users who prioritize data speed and stability may find Flow to be a better choice. Flow is commended for its fast data speeds, especially with its LTE network, which is reportedly the fastest in the country. Moreover, Flow users have experienced better battery performance and overall phone functionality. This suggests that Flow's network is more efficient in connectivity, leading to lesser battery drainage​​​​.

On the other hand, Digicel is recognized for its good voice quality and consistent billing, whether on prepaid or postpaid plans. It offers competitive voice and data bundles, including rollover options, making it a good choice for users who prioritize voice services and flexible data plans. However, some users have noted increased dropped calls and slower data speeds with Digicel, indicating possible network stability issues in certain areas​​.

Source

Prepaid SIM and eSIM Options

For those seeking flexibility, prepaid SIM cards are available from both providers, offering a range of data packages. eSIM plans, gaining popularity for their convenience, especially among travelers and those requiring seamless connectivity, are also an option worth exploring.

Search & compare Jamaica prepaid eSIM plans on esims.io

In conclusion, whether your priority is extensive network coverage, cutting-edge technology like 5G, or flexible SIM options, Jamaica's mobile network landscape offers viable choices. Understanding the unique offerings of Digicel and Flow can help you make an informed decision suited to your specific needs in this vibrant Caribbean nation.

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