By Tim Knights, Head of Mobile Networks, JT
In a world of fast paced technology and at times, confusing language, the arrival of 4G across the Channel Islands can be summed up very simply: it’s all about speed. A 4G connection on your mobile device – and it’s important to stress that this is as relevant to tablets as it is to phones – will give you far faster connections, much quicker down or uploading times, and better quality streaming on video-calling apps such as Facetime or Skype. For those of us using The Cloud for storage or access to systems and data for work, it also means easier and better service.
JT’s investment in a £12 million state-of-the-art Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced 4G network has ensured that the Channel Islands will be ahead of many similar jurisdictions across the world, meaning Islanders can enjoy the very best 4G services available anywhere today. This was a significant project for us and we’re proud of our team that worked hard to deliver it on time, ensuring some of the fastest data speeds in the world are available for our customers, and that is great news for local businesses too.
Data usage continues to grow at an exponential rate, which is being driven by the fact that virtually all services are available online and that we want access to them wherever we are, 24/7. Furthermore, the majority of us have more than one device that we use, and coupled with more people wanting to access the network all at the same time be it; running a small business from home, shopping online, e-gaming, social networking and downloading high definition videos and music, it all adds up to a major fast growing demand for data. The ‘leisure’ use of mobile data is evident, but
the composition of our work-force is also changing rapidly to become an increasingly mobile workforce, constantly needing to be connected – wherever they are in the world. Thankfully that technology is here, already providing the flexibility to hold an early morning or late night video conference from home, to suit the time constraints of a global client base and we’re working hard to provide the technology to support and enable that.
In terms of speed, our new network will mean that data connections will be at least 100% faster. Moreover, the underlying network we’ve installed will be even more robust and better able to handle periods of peak use.
So, one question we have been asked is perhaps why we would need a fixed network in the future, if 4G is capable of delivering such super-fast speeds? Our answer to that is, that for a device capable of picking up both 4G and Wi-Fi, your connection also needs to be seamless, wherever you are in the Island. Which is why together, both our 4G network and our Gigabit Jersey fibre programme – with effectively unlimited broadband speeds – will soon mean that our coverage is almost universal.
Seamless connectivity means that you have the ability to start watching a video on a tablet at work (through your office Wi-Fi), continue watching on your mobile while waiting for the bus or walking to the car (through your 4G connection) and then finish on your HD screen at home (through your fibre broadband connection). Indeed some of the latest handsets already have ‘miracasting’ available, which is the technology and applications to easily switch between platforms. Furthermore, JT have recently announced another milestone; the launch of 4G roaming services. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is and JT are the first local network to offer this.
In fact there are only a handful of global providers currently offering 4G roaming. This means that thanks to the quality of our roaming coverage and the volume of traffic carried over it and plus launching our own 4G network has meant that much larger operators are now actively beginning to approach us also. This means only JT customers can enjoy the benefits of keeping their business communications running across 4G while away from the islands on business as well.
In a world where connected devices such as Smartwatches, Smart TV’s and household appliances controllable through Smartphone apps are no longer a futuristic; robust and reliable mobile connectivity is an increasingly important part of day-to-day life.
This is why, at JT, every decision we take and every investment we make is driven by the needs of our customers’. This is why we were so keen to bring this technology to our customers first; and we’ll continue to do just that for the next 120 years.