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Digicel or Flow, which mobile network should I choose?

Digicel or Flow? This question is on the minds of persons seeking to buy a phone in Jamaica. Up to maybe last year, the question would not be asked; people went straight for market leader Digicel. Now Flow is being lauded for their cheap call rates, people are beginning to ponder whether to go for the underdog. Note this article is based on prepaid accounts.

Digicel vs Flow, a brief history

I have always been a lover of technology. I was one of the early adopters to cellular (mobile) phone; you know, the Motorola ‘brick.’ I was also one of the first and most eager to switch from Cable & Wireless (now Flow) to Digicel. Back then, it was the famous Nokia 3310 phone. How dare Cable & Wireless charge us for receiving calls, and levy those ridiculously high call charges on us? We were happy a new company came in, and the whole country was swept away by Digicel.

Digicel cornered the market, leaving Cable & Wireless limping. Digicel was great for a few years until recently, it started to squeeze all it could out of its customers and their call rates became a problem to me. Cable & Wireless had since branded itself as LIME and in order to compete, used per second billing. Digicel used per minute billing on their prepaid plan. It became much cheaper to make calls through LIME (now Flow).

However, I was stuck with my old Digicel numbers and didn’t want to lose it. The remedy? Buy a good BLU phone that uses 2 chips. I can then use Digicel’s mobile data plan for internet and a Flow chip for voice calls. That I did, until I decided to try Flow’s Fam Plan for mobile internet connection. Here is my user experience with both the Digicel and Flow network. I am a bit surprised by the results. Let’s compare.

Voice Calls

Anyone who has used a Digicel phone for a while and then started using a Flow phone for voice calls will tell you how quickly the Digicel card runs out, and how the Flow card never seems to end. That Flow per second billing makes a world of difference. When I put a $200 Flow card on my phone, I can speak comfortably, without haste. When I use my Digicel, it has to be quick as the credit seems to magically vanish into thin air.

I find though that Digicel calls have better audio quality than that of Flow. However, that is negligible compared to the savings and either way, call quality will only be obvious to persons like myself who notice these minor details.

Mobile Data (Internet)

Now here is the main reason I had to keep my Digicel. Their 2-day plan for $130 gives 225 MB. If I keep adequate credit on my phone, it renews the plan and rolls over the unused MB. Nevertheless, I had to be checking regularly, as the data often runs out and eats into the credit I have on the phone, sucking out $40 per extra megabyte used after the megabytes I purchased in the plan expired.

Now what I prized Digicel for, was the FIT plan. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Whatsapp free.

After several months of using only Digicel for mobile data, last week I decided to try the Flow’s Fam Plan. They give 300MB for 3 days. That works out to 100MB average per day, while Digicel worked out to 112.5 MB per day. Flow’s plan requires $200 credit, while Digicel’s requires $130. This means Digicel’s cost is $0.58 per megabyte, while Flow’s cost is slightly higher at $0.67 per megabyte. Advantage Digicel.

I called Flow asking them if they give Facebook, etc for free, They said no, the “don’t restrict users” (whatever that means). I therefore had no great expectation for their service.

Well, was I wrong! Just as how the credit didn’t seem to end, that is the same it was with Flow’s internet data. I purchased 300MB and got 350 MB. At the end of the second day, I still had 311 MB left. Sorry, I did not check the final balance on the 3rd day when it expired. I was so pleasantly surprised.

There is also no obvious difference in speed either. However, I have not tested Flow’s internet long enough to give a final verdict, but guess what? I will be renewing my plan today and guess which of the two plans I will be using? Flow.

Conclusion – Digicel or Flow?

Having written off Cable & Wireless (then LIME, then Flow), I find myself almost ready to write off Digicel! Flow has come a long way. Being the underdog means they have to do that much more to impress, and they are impressing me. If you walked up to me today and ask: “Digicel or Flow, which mobile network should I choose?” I would not hesitate to shout: “Flow!” Up to a couple years ago, I never dreamed I would one day be recommending Flow.

Have something to add or subtract? Leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: Brian Elliott is the editor of Falmouth News and is in no way affiliated to neither Digicel nor LIME. The results are not scientifically derived and the opinions expressed are his own and may not necessarily reflect your own personal experience. 

 

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