Manager of Flow, Wayne Hull, speaking at a company press conference last week. (iWN photo)

As telecommunications provider Flow announced last Wednesday that it will launch its mobile Long-Term Evolution in December, the company has to face questions about whether its 4G network was ever what it was billed at.

iWitness News noted to country manager of Flow, St. Vincent, Wayne Hull, that 4G enabled devices on Flow’s network, continues to display “3G” even as the same device would register as being on a “4G” network in other markets.

“Yeah. Well, it is HSPA+, which, more or less, they term it as 4G — the network engineers. But if I look for the technical term for it, it is HSP+, right, but I think that mirrors the 4G network standard. But LTE will be above that,” Hull said.

HSPA means High Speed Packet Access.

“So, is it that you are selling something that you are not offering?” iWitness News asked.

Hull said: “Well, I think, as far as I understand it, the engineering terminology is that the HSPA+ and 4G are on the same par, as far as I understand it.”

Asked why an iWitness News device on Flow’s network displays “3G” when that same device displays “4G” in other markets, Hull said:

“Actually, I think that is how the ticker has marketed it as 4G but the actual service is HSPA+. 3G is a bit lower as well, too,” Hull said.

iWitness News has had a similar experience on Digicel’s network, the other telecoms provider in SVG.

Asked what guarantee there is that when Flow says it is offering LTE that that would, in fact, be the case, Hull said:

“Well, there are global standards to that. The network is being implemented by Ericsson. You can probably check their site and see what LTE means but LTE generally give the network the ability to give download speeds up to 100megabytes of service.

“And, as I have demonstrated to you, it’s not fully there at 100, but it is close to 70. One hundred megabytes will be ideal situation once nothing — no interruption. But LTE is giving you up to 100 megabytes. Once you can achieve that level of download speed on the network, you can consider that you have an LTE service.”

iWitness News was unsuccessful in its attempt to find the relevant information on the Ericsson website.

And while Wikipedia says the fastest 3G-based standard in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) family is the HSPA+ standard, which is commercially available since 2009, Bell Canada suggested that HSPA+ and 4G are one and the same.

Meanwhile, speaking at the press conference, Hull said mobile LTE will give consumers 10 times better the speeds that they are getting now on their mobile service.

“For instance, if you are getting roughly 8 megs download, our mobile LTE service will give you about 70 megabits download on a mobile device anywhere in the country,” he said.

Hull said that Flow has installed LTE in St. Vincent and expects to launch it before the end of December.

“So we just want to make this announcement today and ensure that our customers are aware that we have this product coming and we will share more information on this at our launch date in December,” he said.

8 replies on “Flow faces questions about its ‘4G’ network”

  1. Well done Kenton you get Hull searching for his tongue. What he fail to tell you is that HAPA+ is 3G on steroids Its just a faster version of 3G.

  2. Paying for a service not provided is a common thing with these service providers. The majority of consumers. Regulators should ensure that we get what we are paying for. We must demand better a a collective.

  3. Vincy in New York says:

    I could not help but laugh 🙂 Kenton, this guy does not know his arm from his elbow.

    My mobile carrier (4G LTE) in the USA is offering download speed of around 10 – 18 MBPS(70 max) and upload around 5 MBPS max. On weekends and early evenings, you would experience a slow-down in speed, at which time many ppl are at home and using their phones and the internet.

    What is alarming is that whenever I am SVG, my phone operates at 2G speeds at 2 AM in the mornings even when I purchase the best data package. In the USA, if I cannot access the internet because of my carrier for an extended period of time, say 12 hours to 1 day, I get a discount on my bill prorated for a day. Does Flow refund for downtimes?

    And do not tell me that I am in the USA! Think of businesses in SVG that depend on internet connectivity to conduct day to day operations and the lost revenue involved. Sickening!

    As for the cable bill, Vincies need to wise up and recognize that they are being ripped off big time. These cable companies costs to disseminate content …. I cannot say anymore.

  4. Some of us need to go to the library and read a book once in a while. Or, better still, read the thousands of books on the Internet available for free that can be accessed with low speed service unless you can read as fast as Superman.

  5. Customers of Flow experienced dismal internet service, especially since it was renamed from “Lime”, but Wayne Hull’s mission is shareholders benefit, not customers benefits. So better go to Digicel, but to become the king, they have to resolve their sporadic DNS-Server outages.

  6. Sandra from Canada says:

    This overstating capabilities has gone on for years, it is quite simply deception. If you buy a 50lb bag of potatoes and get it home only to find on weighing it, there is only 35lb, you would take it back and ask for the rest of what you paid for.

    All statements which are untrue or deceitfully misleading are quite simply a matter of obtaining money by fraudulent means, or/and false pretenses, or/and misrepresentation, or/and deception. All of which are actionable in law.

  7. I have gone home and complained about this before but was told by the lady at the desk that this is 4g. I then proceed to school the young lady as I am a university student studying engineering and telecommunication.
    It’s crazy we are being ripped off and no one pull these companies up on what’s going on

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