[dropcap type="circle" color="#ffffff" background="#e53b2c"]O[/dropcap]ne of the usual three hundred promotional text messages we received one day on our mobile phone from operator Movistar urged us to sign up for a new service they called "DualBand".
Excited, we went to visit the Movistar Panama website to find out what this was all about. All we encountered though was a page that contained the text:
Hemos instalado la primera Red Dual Band en Panamá para darte un desempeño superior en tu Smartphone a través de dos redes. Algo que solo Movistar puede ofrecerte y que te permite navegar con mayor confiabilidad y calidad en tu señal.
We searched and searched, but no further information was available. Could we use this on our existing smartphone with already a Movistar sim card and if so, how? Nothing on the Movistar site. What IS this DualBand service? No idea.
Desperate to learn and be sold on this DualBand thing, we turned to twitter and complained that we couldn't find any info.
Their reply: "Could we elaborate on your request for info?"
Well, that was the whole point. But then they required us to follow their Twitter account, "so they could help better". And when it became clear we were not going to do any such thing, they continued to direct us to the same web page that contained no information at all and had driven us to Twitter.
When that was pointed out to them, they responded with a tiny bit of information, saying that we would be able to navigate the web better using the 850Mhz and the 1900Mhz band. Which is interesting, but did not really solve any of the questions we had. However, Movistar clearly thought they'd done enough and wished us a good day, adding that they were available 24 hours a day to answer questions.
Prodded again, they responded that the new DualBand network allowed for a faster web experience through two different frequencies. Yeah, we got that part. Movistar then explained again that they are available 24 hours to attend us at any moment, and requested that we sent them our number so they could add it to a registry. Oh, and if we could please follow their Twitter account so they could help us better.
They could not explain what prohibits them from offering to-the-point information about the DualBand service on their website. You know, like what it is, how to get it, how to use it, what if you're an existing customer - basic stuff like that.
Our conclusion: There must be something wrong with this DualBand service. It's clearly not something that can be marketed to (prospective) customers. They won't explain anything about it to you and we doubt it really works because nobody seems to know how. Stay away!
Typical from a Panamanian based web site they are all the same regardless of the product or service. My favorite is “about us”…….
Smart phones were designed to operate on more than 1 band, long before Movistar produced this (misleading) ad. Because such cellular networks are designed with certain assumptions (for instance that only a part of subscribers are using the service simultaneously), things go wrong when more than the assumed number of subscribers are using the service and/or sending more data. Anyone using a speed test on a mobile network can verify that the speed can drop to less than 10% of what the ads are promising. The “low” GSM band has the advantage that the signal can somewhat follow curvatures (like the many hills in Central America) so has been immensely popular – and overcrowded as a result. Hence operators increasingly have to move to higher frequencies and then are forced to add towers, to get the same coverage as with the low GSM band. When that isn’t done, the cellphone will jump to low GSM band if the signal of the higher band isn’t available. Some clever advertiser came up with the idea to sell it as “dual band improvement”… How cellular frequencies in the Americas (countries in alphabetical order) have been allocated, here:
Fine Jan, you have explained far more than what the dealer was ever able to explain
Movistar used to be one of the up and coming businesses in Panama, until they became the number one supplier of Cellular connections and Cellular telephones with over 3.75 million known active users and subscribers, Funny since Panama only has a population of 3.475 Million! The other four or is it five Cellular companies have close to over 3 Million subscribers combined also!
As usual “The numbers n Panama never add up!”
Movistar has become a huge nightmare to use even as a monthly paid subscriber and it’s prepaid users hell!
Drop calls are so frequent all around Panama City and through out their coverage areas even in their Interior locations it is ridiculous and purposely insidious by design!
Paying your monthly bill on line can drive one to throw the whole moronic system back at them!
What is your alternative four or five Cellular companies that can not maintain any of their cellular networks to function more than 78% of the time!
The Prepay card and on line system for Prepay cards of payment is only one of the real bright stars of the Movistar Cellular service, which function almost all the time correctly.
The overly high price per minute in the Prepay mode sucks as the connection service does not live up to the overly burdensome cost for the majority of Panamanians.
Customer service used to be better than the rest with Movistar, “the best of the worst” so too speak as is the state of Panamanian customer service for 99% of those companies who have a customer service policy or a symbolic Customer service department.
Without proper the proper technical upgrades and investment in New and up to date equipment and software, it can only stay somewhat bearable at best!
Here is hoping that Movistar will used their profits and investments to better their Cellular system instead of just becoming another flash in the night Panamanian operation which indentures you into a one way street of horrid service and cost!
Panamanian telecommunication market was only liberalized in 2003. I’d say they’ve come quite a long way in just a decade. Keeping up with the huge demand for cell phones, digital TV and internet has been a real challenge. Fees are still high, but there has to be a return on investments. Virtually the whole country is covered now. Most cellphone operators are foreign companies, not Panamanian. Here’s a good article on this subject: http://www.businesspanama.com/investing/opportunities/telecommunication.php
Correction: all cellphone companies operating in Panama are foreign: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_the_Americas#Panama
We had originally Bell South (now Movistar) and C & W since about 1998 if I remember correctly. Done during the Balladeres term. Digicel & Claro came later in the game about 5 years ago.