Is the best 4G experience here?


IT&E has been advertising its new and improved data plan as the “best 4G experience in the Marianas.” The telecommunications company launched HSPA+ 4G on July 14, 2014, according to IT&E Sales and Marketing manager Hans Mickelson,

“High Speed Package Acess+ 4G speeds are much higher than regular 3G,” he said.

The heavily advertised 4G experience covers destinations on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. In an IT&E commercial, users are seen experiencing 4G speeds at locations such as Garapan, the Saipan Grotto, and Mount Tapochau.

Mickelson added that the 4G technology is the fastest service possible for the islands to have at the moment. CNMI users are now experiencing speeds of 16mbps and higher.

One IT&E employee, who has worked for the company for over a decade, said that phone users covered by the 3G Data plan under Docomo Pacific experience speeds of only 5mbps.

“With the generation of social media and online movies this is a big leap because now IT&E speeds can handle those needs,” he added.

For Netflix and Hulu subscribers, this means no more buffering while watching the latest TV episodes or movies on a mobile device connected to the 4G network. Customers are now also able to use Skype or FaceTime with a more stable connection.

“4G means a more robust experience for the mobile users on their devices,” Mickelson told the Saipan Tribune. “Users will experience improved Web browsing, downloads, better speeds for streaming movies, music and gaming. Quicker logging onto Facebook, email, and other social networks.”

In addition to faster web browsing, the 4G experience also means a wider choice of phones and devices, superior coverage throughout the CNMI, value in the form of airtime plans and ease of use when roaming to worldwide destinations.

Multinational telecommunications corporations like AT&T offer 4G Long-term Evolution, or LTE, which the New York Times calls “more impressive and the most advanced in terms of speed.”

Mickelson explained that LTE is the next generation of mobile network technology and is not expected to be on Saipan anytime soon.

One customer, who requested for anonymity, said that his 4G experience has been unreliable.

“Sometimes the data would drop down to 3G on my Samsung phone.” He added, “The data is expensive compared to other customers under Guam providers.

Is the best 4G experience here? Mobile users with 4G compatible smartphones can now encounter the “the best 4G experience” for themselves and decide.

With IT&E’s 4G network reaching its one-month mark in the islands, the company is offering a 30-day trial for mobile users with 4G compatible smartphones to experience the network risk-free.

Thomas Manglona II | Correspondent

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