This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (January 2019)
|Nasdaq: LILA (Class A)|
Nasdaq: LILAK (Class C)
|Headquarters||Coral Gables, Miami, Florida, United States|
|Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Sint Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos|
|Inge Smidts (CEO of CWC)|
|Products||Fibre broadband, Cable broadband, ADSL, VDSL & VDSL2 broadband, Mobile Broadband, TV, Landline|
|Parent||Liberty Latin America|
Flow (stylized FLOW) is one of many trade names of the Caribbean former telecom Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), now Liberty Latin America used to market cable television, internet, telephone, and wireless services provided by the company. Flow operates services in Barbados, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada, Anguilla, Curaçao, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Flow also replaces the UTS brand in the Dutch and French Caribbean, following the recent acquisition and integration of United Telecommunications Service (UTS) by Liberty Latin America's CWC division.
Flow was originally established by Columbus Communications as its service brand. Following the acquisition of Columbus by CWC, it was announced that the Flow brand would replace the CWC-originated LIME brand across the merged company, beginning in July 2015.
Every region in which FLOW operates a mobile network descended from the former LIME brand. FLOW uses the GSM standard for 2G which is accessible on 850 & 1900 MHz. It provides data connectivity exclusively using GPRS & EDGE. All FLOW markets have GSM coverage.
On October 6, 2011, CWC announced the launch of a '4G' HSPA+ network in the Cayman Islands and plans to launch HSPA+ networks in the Bahamas and LIME Barbados. In March 2012, LIME announced the addition of 4G technology in Jamaica. In January 2014, former Centrica chief executive, Phil Bentley took over as CEO of Cable & Wireless Communications. That same year, the company announced a US$250 million investment programme nicknamed 'Project Marlin', aimed at improving CWC's mobile and fixed-line networks. The plan began with an announcement of an islandwide HSPA+ network in Jamaica in March 2014.
FLOW operates LTE, networks in 12 markets.
'Project Marlin' also involved the launch and build out of LTE networks across several of the company's markets. CWC's Caymanian business unit (then named LIME Cayman) launched their first LTE network on December 10, 2013. The network initially launched with 100% coverage across the Cayman Islands on LTE Band 17 (700 MHz). CWC's network was followed by Digicel launching an LTE network on Band 3 (1800 MHz).
In August 2016, FLOW became one of 8 carriers in North America and the first Caribbean operator to have rolled out an LTE Advanced network, followed by Orange in the French West Indies and the Dominican Republic.
FLOW also operates an LTE network in Antigua and Barbuda, which launched on November 24, 2014. On August 17, 2017, CWC announced that it had completed a Gigabit LTE network trial in Antigua and Barbuda in partnership with Ericsson. The LTE solution tested leveraged network technology such as carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), and higher-order modulation (256-QAM) that maximized data speeds for wireless broadband subscribers.
FLOW launched an LTE network in the British Virgin Islands on November 17, 2016. The network launched with LTE coverage available across all of the islands, LTE Advanced is available in Road Town, Spanish Town, Tortola, Spanish Island and Beef Island with speeds up to 100 Mbit/s.
The network's plans for LTE upgrades were officially announced on January 17, 2016, where the company announced in a press release that it would be rolling out an LTE network in Jamaica. The network was initially planned to be rolled out in the high traffic areas in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (consisting of the city of Kingston and its adjacent suburbs in Portmore, St. Catherine and the parish of St. Andrew) and on the North Coast in the resort city of Montego Bay and the resort town of Ocho Rios. The company was, however, countered by its competitor, Digicel Jamaica, which launched its LTE network on June 9, 2016, in Kingston and a portion of Montego Bay. In July, FLOW announced that it had applied to the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) for additional LTE spectrum to provide a 'faster service'. FLOW subsequently acquired AWS-1 Blocks D and E to buttress their pre-existing Block F spectrum. In December 2016, FLOW went live with an initial 12 LTE cell sites in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. According to FLOW Jamaica's former Managing Director, Garfield Sinclair, the company's new parent, Liberty Global is focused on mobile data.
On August 20, 2017, the company announced that it was launching an additional 144 LTE sites covering Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Mandeville by October 2017, making FLOW the operator with the largest LTE footprint in the country. FLOW also expanded coverage in the Kingston Metro Area, upgrading sites in the township of Portmore and the major town of Spanish Town, which went on-air in October 2017. This effort was a part of a near 200 LTE site rollout across the island, availing the major towns and cities in Jamaica with LTE coverage by the end of 2017, with the goal of achieving comprehensive coverage by 2018.
In January 2018, the network announced that it had deployed over 170 LTE sites across the island. FLOW's rollout of LTE Advanced in Jamaica continued with intentions to extend LTE coverage to 87% of the Jamaican population by the end of 2018 with a future target of covering 95% of the population by 2020.
After conducting its first test call in October 2016, FLOW Barbados officially launched its LTE network on March 22, 2017. The network at launch had a total of 35 sites active spread over Band 2 and 5 LTE (1900 MHz and 850 MHz respectively), making this FLOW's third LTE Advanced network deployment.
FLOW launched St. Lucia's first LTE network, with availability in the capital city, Castries, the town of Vieux Fort, home of Hewanorra International Airport to the south of the island and the old capital & tourist town of Soufrière (home to The Pitons, Soufrière Estate and Anse Chastanet) to the west.
The network is available on LTE Band 13 (700 MHz) with a maximum theoretical speed of 75 Mbit/s down and 25 Mbit/s up.
On September 29, 2017, FLOW launched Saint Kitts and Nevis' first LTE network, with availability in the capital city, Basseterre, St. Peter's and Bird Rock in St. Kitts as well as Charlestown in Nevis. The network is available on LTE Band 13 (700 MHz) with a maximum theoretical speed of 75 Mbit/s down and 25 Mbit/s up.
In December 2018, FLOW launched its LTE network in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with availability in the capital city, Kingstown, and nearby surrounding areas. The network is available on LTE Band 13 (700 MHz) with a maximum theoretical speed of 75 Mbit/s down and 25 Mbit/s up.
FLOW currently operates in 2 markets with no wireless offerings, Trinidad and Curaçao. FLOW plans to add a mobile network to their portfolio in Trinidad. The company applied to the governing telecoms body, Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT), in 2014 for a mobile license. To date, however, FLOW has yet to receive a license despite being named as the recipient of the license being tendered by TATT. They plan to build an LTE network as well despite incumbents, bmobile (TSTT) and Digicel, having well established mobile customer bases. FLOW cites its experience in other markets, to include previously launched LTE networks in other markets in addition to newly built networks in Jamaica and Barbados as an impetus to get TATT to issue the license. FLOW's parent company, Cable & Wireless Communications, is a minority shareholder in incumbent TSTT, however, services are not branded as C&W but as bmobile, CWC's former consumer brand from 2003 to 2008 (succeeded by LIME in November 2008 in all markets except Trinidad & Tobago).
Plans for a mobile network in Curaçao came to the fore when Cable & Wireless Communications acquired UTS Curaçao and other UTS business units across the Dutch Caribbean. The Curaçao business unit of UTS will be combined with FLOW's existing operations there with the promise of bringing faster LTE speeds and coverage with an improved customer experience.
On July 17, 2017, FLOW's parent company, Cable & Wireless Communications, in collaboration with their parent, Liberty Global, announced that they had conducted a trial of LTE-A Pro technology in Antigua & Barbuda. The company announced that upon installation, Antigua & Barbuda will become the first country in the Caribbean (and wider Latin America) to be availed of an LTE-A Pro network, capable of speeds up to 800 Mbit/s. In October 2017, the company will be testing a 5G prototype network, designed to deliver wireless data connections of around 2 - 5 Gbit/s. The testing and deployment is being done in collaboration with long time business partner and supplier, Ericsson.
Based on drive tests carried out by engineering consulting company, MSI Americas, FLOW was rated as the top carrier in the 2 tested countries; Jamaica and Barbados. In Jamaica, FLOW was placed ahead of its competitor in terms of radio frequency quality, 3G throughput, and higher 3G retention. FLOW was also rated the faster mobile network in the country, with users to experience on average, above 3 Mbit/s (downlink) on the HSPA+ network. FLOW Barbados also placed ahead of its competitor there as well in said categories as well.
In 2016, P3 Group, a management consultancy headquartered in Aachen, Germany, conducted benchmarks in 6 FLOW Territories (Antigua & Barbuda, The Cayman Islands, Jamaica (pre-LTE), Montserrat, St. Lucia and Turks and Caicos). The finding of these benchmarks concluded that FLOW networks were on average 90% better than their competitor, Digicel, in terms of call setup, download & upload speed, latency & video streaming (over YouTube). Raw scores showed that FLOW also outranked the competition in voice and data performance at the very least, twice.
In Q2-Q3 of 2018, FLOW Jamaica received the distinction by Ookla's Speedtest Awards of being Jamaica's Fastest Mobile Network, with customers seeing speeds averaging at 22.66 Mbit/s on the downlink and 9.62 Mbit/s on the uplink.
|Frequency range||Band number||Protocol||Class||Status||Note(s)|
|850 MHz CLR||5||GSM/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+/LTE||2G/3G/"4G"/4G||Active||Active in all markets; 5 MHz of HSPA+ active in most. Max Speed of 21 Mbit/s. GSM-850 and UMTS-850 forms fallback in lack of 4G/LTE coverage. Band 5 LTE is used by FLOW Barbados.|
|1900 MHz PCS||2||GSM/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+/LTE||2G/3G/"4G"/4G||Active||Active in all markets. In their Jamaican market, FLOW has HSPA+ active on 1900 MHz. Most areas see a maximum speed of 21 Mbit/s. Band 2 LTE is used by FLOW BVI, FLOW Barbados, FLOW Cayman, FLOW Jamaica and FLOW Dominica. GSM 1900 forms fallback in lack of 3G or '4G' coverage in some markets; decommissioned to allow for wider channel bandwidths on LTE Band 2.|
|700 MHz A/B/C||12/13/17||LTE/LTE Advanced||4G||Active/In-Deployment||Main LTE Band for FLOW Cayman, FLOW Anguilla, FLOW Turks and Caicos, FLOW St. Lucia, FLOW SVG and FLOW St. Kitts and Nevis and FLOW British Virgin Islands. Band 12 is used to underlie FLOW Jamaica's LTE network.|
|1700/2100 MHz AWS||4||LTE/LTE Advanced||4G||Active/In-Deployment||Main LTE Band used for FLOW Antigua & Barbuda and FLOW Jamaica. FLOW Jamaica uses Wideband LTE Band 4 in Jamaica, at 20 MHz of channel bandwidth.|
FLOW operates vast and expansive HFC networks in the former Columbus Communications markets of Barbados, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent. Using the D3 standard, FLOW delivers speeds ranging from a minimum download speed of 15 Mbit/s up to 500 Mbit/s. The network also follows conventions shared with its sister companies such as Virgin Media Ireland & UK, Ziggo, UPC in its choice of CPE; a custom Arris cable modem, capable of speeds up to 1 Gbit/s. The box's nomenclature 'FLOW Connectbox' also finds similarity with its sister brands like Ziggo, with Virgin Media being the only exception with its 'Superhub 3'. The company will likely follow with group-wide convention in regard to the box's successor, as is deployed in the UK (as the Virgin Media Hub 4), Ireland (as the Virgin Media V2 router), Switzerland, and other Liberty Global geographies, when FLOW moves toward deploying D3.1 across its footprint.
LIME, in 2014, began rolling out a Fiber-to-the-Home network in Barbados. Now complete, the network now offers speeds up to 1 Gbit/s, thanks to an all fiber optic network. They also have a FTTH network in numerous areas with greenfield deployment in Jamaica and across all of Grand Cayman as well.