Telem officially launches 3G+ network with computer lab donations

POSTED: 10/23/11 11:37 AM

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams (2nd right), Telem Group’s Chief Financial Officer Helma Etnel (2nd left) and Curt DeGourville (right) present the school manager of the St. Maarten Vocational Training School Vernon Richards (center) and the school manager at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Silveria Jacobs (3rd right) with notebook computers ahead of a donation of computer labs at each school. Telem’s Chief Financial Officer Eldert Louisa (left) the company’s coordinator of the internet for schools program Margarita Hodge (3rd left) and Chief Commercial Officer Brian Mingo (4th left) also participated in the presentation.

St. Maarten – The Telem Group of Companies launched its 3G+ service at Holland House Hotel on Friday night with a night of free sign ups. They also donated laptops to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School and the St. Maarten Vocational Training School as a precursor to setting up full-fledged computer labs in both schools.

The set-up of the labs that will have Hewlet Packard MultiSeat ms6000 Desktop Server Systems, will be done in collaboration WireIE – a Canadian consulting firm. The computers and an installation team should arrive next week.

Friday night’s launch is the culmination of a year’s worth of work that was a “really, really tough job” that the company is “quite fortunate to get done.” The phased roll out of the new 3G network began in April as part of the company’s commitment to the public to deliver the latest technology on time.

“3G is a complex and expensive technology but we have committed to giving all the bells and whistles. I also want to warn that while 3G is nice, it does not allow us hide anymore. For example men, if you are one side of the island and you tell your wife you’re on the other side of the island, one picture of you can be sent to your wife much quicker, so you can’t lie anymore,” Telem Group’s Chief Financial Officer Helma Etnel said.

Telem Group’s Chief Technical Officer Eldert Louisa said the company had followed an aggressive project plan to introduce 3G. They’d initially thought it would take four months, but ended up spending a year on the project. He also explained that periods where the service seemed bad was the company tweaking its system.

“We are here to serve each customer but we have so much demand for data that we have to tweak the network. This may give the impression that the network is not strong,” Louisa explained.

Telem Group’s Chief Commercial Officer Brian Mingo explained that 3G+ is the more advanced version of a 3G network and that it offered more coverage and higher amounts of data. The new service will be available through dongles people can attach to their computers and sim cards they can put in their mobile phones or tablet P.Cs like an iPad. The packages on offer will be pre-paid and post-paid and will help the company recoup its investment in the network improvements.

“One basic thing I can tell people is that they will be able to BB faster and browse the internet and send pictures faster. And to give an example of pricing if you have basic BB package and pay $28, you can upgrade to 3G service for just $6 ,” Mingo said.

Donation

The donations to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School and the St. Maarten Vocational Training School come after the company upgraded the bandwith available to all public schools to 4 mbps. During that upgrade they noticed schools had a low ratio of computers to a high number of students. That led to a decision to donate computers to the schools. The donation includes the hardware, software and licensing plans and maintenance by certified HP technicians on an as required basis.

The company’s corporate communications officer Joe Dominique said residents can contribute to more schools being supplied labs if they support Telem.

“If the public of St. Maarten wants us to keep providing the schools labs, they’ve got to support our projects like this new 3G+ network,” Dominique said.

Pride

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams is proud of the company’s accomplishment and considers the launch an important technological development for the company and the country.

“The fact that it was Telem – our own government owned company – only adds to the excitement of the evening,” the prime minister said.

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