The 2022 Fifa World Cup has had its share of surprises. But where there is no surprise is that there is an increasing number of Jamaicans reaching out to telecommunications network Digicel for data subscriptions just to stay in the loop.
For many, data plans come in handy, as there is a need to track matches in real-time, even when they are on the road. And some people who are at home with the free-to-air station CVM TV, still turn to data to be involved in discussions online.
"Since the World Cup, we have seen a virtual explosion in mobile data utilisation by as much as 25 per cent, likely among football fans who want to stream the matches while on the go. We continue to experience a steady increase in data subscriptions since the introduction of our value-packed prime bundles that are loaded with gigs of data that power our customers' digital lifestyles 24/7," Shawn Clarke, general manager of Digicel+, told the Jamaica Observer.
With the expansion of Digicel+ Fibre-to-the-Home service to Clarendon and Manchester, today, Digicel+ will reach over 500,000 people in over 100,000 household and counting.
"With all the pulsating and riveting action associated with World Cup viewing, more Digicel+ customers have been utilising our Time Shift feature to pause, rewind and replay their favourite match moments," Clarke added.
"This is one of the convenience features of Digicel+ that customers have come to know and love. In addition, there has been a 20 per cent increase in usage of the recording feature which is a great convenience for those who are unable to watch the matches live, and therefore want to schedule viewing for later."
The Sunday Observer also reached out to fellow provider Flow for consumer trends since the start of the World Cup, but no information was provide up until press time on Saturday.
Dr Beverley Scott, child and family therapist, noted that people are willing to stay in the loop because the World Cup games facilitate refreshing psycho-social pleasantness.
"From my personal experience, families have come together because everybody is excited and people who weren't talking, are talking to one another now and so on because of the whole atmosphere. Families are more tolerant of each other because they have something to talk about," she told the Sunday Observer.
"The world atmosphere affects us. I remember the time with Trump and all that was happening with him, every day Jamaicans talk about Trump. People turn on the television just for Trump. The world is related. Social economic conditions are related. Whatever happens in the world, affects every single one of us."
Scott stressed the importance of that.
"Sometimes families just fuss and quarrel and fight because there is nothing else they really have to distract them or attract them. And I think World Cup has attracted families to come together and has encouraged them to talk to one another."
Scott urged that Jamaica needs more positive happenings on a daily basis, "In which people can participate than to have negative things happening. As human beings, we like to see positive things happening. People say the devil finds work for idle hands, so if our thoughts are not on the right things, we may just think the wrong thing and that's what is happening to our society."
Two weeks ago, statistics obtained by the Sunday Observer from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) showed that during the last two World Cup tournaments, crime numbers were chopped.
The previous 2018 Fifa World Cup took place between June 14 and July 15, 2018. Between June 10 and July 15 that year, there were 105 murders and 90 shootings across the country. For the same period in 2017, the numbers were higher — 157 and 156, respectively. In 2016, 130 and 105.
The 2014 Fifa World Cup took place between June 12 and July 13, 2014. That year, there were 87 murders and 124 shootings between June 10 and July 15 — relatively lower when compared to the same periods in 2013 and 2015.
In 2013, there were 29 more murders and 10 more shootings. In 2015 — 132 and 141, respectively.
And so, apart from an increase in data and cable usage, officials expect that through the course of this tournament, serious crimes will decrease across the island.
Meanwhile, head of public relations at Digicel Elon Parkinson told the Sunday Observer that increased data usage is the norm during major sporting events.
"We have seen it before. During the Olympics, the SportsMax app usage almost doubled. It is the same with schoolboy football as well, which is now on. We've seen the SportsMax app usage gone up by about 50 per cent," he said.
Jermaine Johnson, who lives in Tivoli Gardens in west Kingston, told the Sunday Observer that he has exhausted a week's worth of mobile data since the start of the World Cup on November 20.
"When I am heading out to go to work and stuff like that, I have the data on my phone. Just to track what's happening or even chat with my friends who supporting other sides and things like that. Whether me a gimmicks one a mi brethren because him side lose a match, or him baller miss a goal or give away a ball… thing like that," Johnson said.
"When I get to work, I have free Wi-Fi and when I get back home, I have Wi-Fi and my TV is there. So, the data thing is just for when I know I am out of Wi-Fi and on the road," he added.
Taxi driver David said he has been using one day plans for over a week.
"I am on the road everyday so if I wah know what a take place, I have to buy the data. I have passenger come in my vehicle and ask mi what happen to the World Cup coverage. So, I find a stream, connect the phone to the speakers and have it loud in my vehicle; me entertained and passengers love it. Everybody wah know wah gwaan with World Cup."