It feels like 2017 has finally given us some variety for home solutions. With everyone pushing hard to fight over market share, we as consumers actually have some options in terms of who our service provider shall be, and we are now able to shop around for the best deal.
A lot of people think that all of these companies are the same, they offer TV, home phone & internet, but how they go about doing it through their technology is different. The major difference between Flow and Digicel/Bmobile is Flow uses a technology called Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) or Fibre to the Node (FTTN) while the latter uses Fibre to the Home (FTTH).
FTTH is the newest home solutions standard on the market and offers a wealth of upgrades and stability over FTTC. I won’t get in-depth about the technology here, but basically, FTTH delivers fibre directly to your home, allowing for faster data transfer, no fluctuations, data is sent using light, you get an individual fibre connection not shared and is not affected by the outside elements.
FTTC is fibre half way from the command centre to a neighbourhood junction box and coaxial cable to your house, speeds fluctuate, more users active on network cause variations in speed uses electricity to send data, can be affected by outside elements. For more information on how the tech works, you can check out our previous blog. (Massy vs Digicel)
So now that we got the basics out of the way, you would automatically assume, well hey if Digicel & Bmobile offer the latest tech on the market, why not just sign up with them? Good question, Bmobile/Massys fibre network is slowly making the rounds while Digicel has been building out their network pretty swiftly, so you may not even have the option for FTTH but FTTC is still a viable option.
Here in Trinidad, if it’s one thing that will send a customer running to your office and cancelling service, is high billing, bad customer service, and misleading information. Unfortunately, we have all had our bad experiences and to most people, it comes down to picking your poison.
In this article we take a look at some offerings from each company, you guys can always shoot us a private message for more questions or contact each company directly with any queries. We specifically want to get into the new Flow Ultra plan and see if this new plan puts it back into the fold with Digicel or Bmobile despite utilising older technology.
One of the biggest downfaults to have choosing Flow was the upload speed. Sure Flow was willing to give you 60mbps or higher, but download speeds were at 5mbps and below. You could have gotten away that maybe 5 or 10 years ago but those days are long behind us.
Upload speeds are a major part of our everyday life whether we know it or not. Everyone is upgrading smartphones, getting better cameras and video recorders, the files these devices use are becoming larger and larger, and trying to send these files or upload to a cloud storage becomes a nightmare when your home internet’s upload speed is poor.
Gaming, Voice calls/Video calls all need to have good 2-way connection speeds otherwise there will be poor performance along the way. So when FTTH came out, I was hugely excited for the upload speeds as well as the non-shared connection. Check the table below for an example of upload speeds.
Flow Ultra could not have come at a better time, and the thinking behind has actually shown that someone in the right position was doing some thinking. I don’t have the official numbers, but just talking to people on the ground, I know they couldn’t wait to give up Flow for anything else that would help out with overpaying, fluctuations in network speeds.
Now in my humble opinion, if I am going to use a service that is a bit dated, I should be paying less than what companies offering the newer tech are offering. Flow finally got that message and in comes the new Flow Ultra.
The company line regarding it is that they looked at the most watched channels and packaged it all together, they have bumped internet speeds to 60mbps down and 20mbps upload, and the pay per use home phone with 1 month free of 600min to use for local and long distance to the USA, Canada, and UK. All of this for $500ttd and you are able to switch to this package if you are a current subscriber by just calling in.
Say what you will about Flow but that sounds like it finally hit someone in the head that they needed to make this change. So does this put them in the conversation for your next service provider? Well, let’s take a look at what the competitors offer for $500.
Digicel: Play Strong ($499 Vat inch) package offers 25mbps down/15mbps up, 179 channels, and pay per use home phone.
Bmobile Fiber: Triple Connect fibre ($448 Vat Incl) package offers 25mbps download, 125 channels, Unlimited landline to landline.
Now you will have to go to each respective website and go through the channel selection to see if they are giving you exactly what you want, but I will make some very notable differences. Digicel and Bmobile both limit sports channels and movie channels to either an add-on option or their largest packages. Flow Ultra has tossed in the whole HBO suite, ESPN 1 & 2, Sportsmax 1 & 2, Flow Sports and Flow Sports Premier. Now for $500 you are not getting that on Digicel or Bmobile.
Again, I stress you will have to go through all 3 company channel guides and ensure that the channels you want are there. I highlight sports and movies because those are usually the main things consumers look for.
One major question one must ask themselves is are they getting enough value to stick with the older tech. When it comes to the TV aspect I think it is worth it, the internet speeds you may never get away from the fluctuations as that’s just the nature of FTTC. If you are one of those customers who never notice the fluctuating speeds than great.
Digicel and Bmobile/Massy also offer some very nifty features. You can use catch up TV and rewind tv up to 3 days, Digicel offers multiscreen so that you can download their app and view your subscribed channels on your phone or tablet, will save you from adding that additional box.
Flow also offers Flow to go app which allows you to watch channels you’re subscribed to and set your PVR to record in the event you are not home to do so.
Another major question that comes up, is what if I have an Android box, who is the best for internet? Well, Massy offers the cheapest fastest internet at $150ttd for 25mbps down/15upload. Digicel’s Internet packages start from $200 for 25mbps down/15upload and Flow offers a package for $220 with 30mbps down/3 Mbps upload. Obviously, the goal with the Android boxes is to get the fastest speed for the cheapest price.
Well, I hope we have given you a good overview of the new Flow Ultra package and where it stacks up against its top competitors.
If you have questions, you can contact us or each respective company. While no company is perfect, its good to know your options and ensure you are getting value for your money.