Telecommunications in Jamaica

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Telecommunications in Jamaica include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.

Radio and television

  • Radio stations: Privately owned Radio Jamaica Limited and its subsidiaries operate multiple radio stations; there are roughly 70 other privately owned radio stations (2007).[1]
  • Radios: 1.215 million (1997).[dated info]
  • Television stations: Privately owned Radio Jamaica Limited and its subsidiaries operate multiple TV stations as well as subscription cable services; there are 2 other privately owned television stations (2007).[1]
  • Television sets: 460,000 (1997).[dated info]


Country Code: +1876
International Call Prefix: 011 (outside NANP)

Calls from Jamaica to the US, Canada, and other NANP Caribbean nations, are dialed as 1 + NANP area code + 7-digit number. Calls from Jamaica to non-NANP countries are dialed as 011 + country code + phone number with local area code.

Number Format: nxx-xxxx

Jamaica has a fully digital telephone communication system.[2]

The country’s three mobile operators – Cable and Wireless (once marketed as LIME – Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment now named FLOW), Digicel, and at one point Oceanic Digital (operating as MiPhone and now known as Claro since late 2008) until the carrier was acquired and the relevant spectrum sold to Digicel – have spent millions in network upgrade and expansion. Both Digicel and Oceanic Digital were granted licences in 2001 to operate mobile services in the newly liberalised telecom market that had once been the sole domain of the incumbent Cable and Wireless monopoly. Digicel opted for the more widely used GSM wireless system, while Oceanic opted for the CDMA standard. Cable and Wireless, which had begun with TDMA standard, subsequently upgraded to GSM, and currently utilises both standards on its network.[citation needed]

With wireless usage increasing, landlines supplied by Cable and Wireless have declined from just over half a million to roughly about three hundred thousand as of 2006.[2] In a bid to grab more market share, Cable and Wireless recently[when?] launched a new land line service called HomeFone Prepaid that would allow customers to pay for minutes they use rather than pay a set monthly fee for service, much like prepaid wireless service.[citation needed]

Two more licenses were auctioned by the Jamaican government to provide mobile services on the island, including one that was previously owned by AT&T Wireless but never utilized, and one new license.[citation needed]

Another entrant to the Jamaican communications market, FLOW, laid a new submarine cable connecting Jamaica to the United States. This new cable increases the total number of submarine cables connecting Jamaica to the rest of the world to four.[citation needed] The company's parent was acquired by Cable and Wireless Communications in November 2014 and finalized in March 2015. The new FLOW was re-launched as a successor to LIME and the old Flow on August 31, 2015; offering mobile, fixed voice, fixed broadband and TV services to the market. It has now become the first quad-play provider in Jamaica. The company runs a vast copper network (inherited from LIME) islandwide as well as a Hybrid Fiber and Coaxial network (from the old Flow) in the metropolitan areas of Kingston and Montego Bay. They also have small Fiber-to-the-home operations in certain sections of St. James that began in 2011 (under LIME). On the mobile side, the company had completed its 4G HSPA+ rollout (capable of speeds up to 21 Mbps) across the island in November 2015 and has announced the launch of a 4G LTE network between January and March of 2016 on an initial 25 sites in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. Further work is expected to be done to expand said network to the second city, Montego Bay, within that timeframe or soon after.


  • Internet top-level domain: .jm,[1] registration of .jm domains is handled by MITS at the University of the West Indies, registration is free, although there has been some discussion about MITS making the service commercial in the coming years.
  • Internet users: 1.3 million users, 108th in the world; 46.5% of the population, 94th in the world (2012).[3][4]
  • Fixed broadband: 125,188 subscriptions, 96th in the world; 4.3% of population, 109th in the world (2012).[3][5]
  • Wireless broadband: 45,505 subscriptions, 127th in the world; 1.6% of the population, 128th in the world (2012).[6]
  • Internet hosts: 3,906 hosts, 149th in the world (2012).[1]
  • IPv4: 202,752 addresses allocated, less than 0.05% of the world total, 70.1 addresses per 1000 people (2012).[7][8]

Internet censorship and surveillance

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight.[9]

The law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, generally effective judicial protection, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and press. The independent media are active and express a wide variety of views without restriction. Broadcast media were largely state owned, but open to pluralistic points of view. Although the constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, in practice the police conduct searches without warrants.[9]

A law decriminalizing defamation was passed by the Jamaican House of Representatives in November 2013 after being approved unanimously by the Senate the previous July. It took six years to amend the libel and slander laws, which – although little used – made media offences punishable by imprisonment.[10]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 "Jamaica", World Factbook, U.S. Central Agency, 7 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Doing eBusiness in Jamaica, The Economist Intelligence Unit. Archived September 14, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. 3.0 3.1 Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012", Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
  4. "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
  5. "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  6. "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  7. Select Formats, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
  8. Population, The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Data are mostly for 1 July 2012.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Jamaica", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 22 March 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  10. "Jamaica Country Profile", Reporters Without Borders, 13 November 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2014.

External links