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#251934 - 10/05/07 11:17 AM B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade
Marty Online   happy
Belize picks Nortel to deploy two wireless networks

If you own a computer you know that within a few months of your purchase
they invariable come out with new, more advanced models that make your once
powerful machine seem puny. That's pretty much the same thing that happens
to telecom companies-only on a much larger scale. Today, Belize's principal
communications provider essentially announced that it was time to buy a new

Dean Boyce, Chairman, Telemedia Executive Committee

"The fast moving technologies mean that we cannot stand still, we must
adapt and change as a company."

This morning Belize Telemedia Limited held an official signing ceremony to
mark the start of a multi-million dollar partnership with Nortel Networks
to improve wireless and cellular communications.

Dean Boyce

"The first phase will be implemented by right about March next year. It
will be an ongoing development. Not everybody is going to receive the
service immediately. It will be, the first phase will deploy across some
large parts of the country and then we'll continue to work to plug all the

According to Dean Boyce, Chairman of Telemedia's Executive Committee, the
Nortel contract is part of a fifty million dollar investment plan. The
first phase of the upgrade will include the complete replacement of the
company's existing G.S.M. network and see the implementation of a new
C.D.M.A. wireless system, as another option to cell phone users. The
changes will also allow the company to offer voice communication and high
speed internet to rural communities. Telemedia admits the improvements have
become necessary because its current structure cannot support the growing
technological needs of more than one hundred and twenty thousand cellular
customers and thirty-three thousand land line users. But the expansion will
mean a change in how we pay for telecom services.

Dean Boyce

"If you're making a telephone conversation and you're no longer having a
telephone conversation over a piece of copperwire and all you see if the
phone, if you then see the person at the other end, if you are downloading
videos of friends and families, watching television shows over the
internet, then that requires a completely different charge out mechanism to
the one we've got at the moment. You cannot have, if we have a hundred
million dollars a year of total costs to recover, in order to, before we
make any sort of profit, then you have to recover those costs in some shape
or form and at the moment, it will be per minute based. Seventy-five
percent of our revenues is recovered on a per minute charge out basis. And
that will not be the case in the future, it cannot be because you can't
separate voice calls so easily from all the other range of services that
you are going to receive."

Ray Bulengo, V.P., Carrier Sales, Caribbean Nortel

"We want to show a showcase a company that's moving forward really quickly.
The change of your image reflects that. It's no longer
'telecommunications', it's 'telemedia'. And I think it's the investment and
decisions in the management direction that you've taken and the leadership
you've shown in terms of where you're going, it's certainly a great honour
for Nortel to be a part of that and we thank you for selecting us as your
partners in this venture."

And to its local and foreign competition, B.T.L. had this to say.

Dean Boyce

"I can't say what their development plans are but we will certainly be
pushing it out there and they've got to try and keep up with us."

"What we've decided is that we will give Belize as a whole, every
opportunity to have the best possible services you can get and we'll do it
properly and we'll do it on a significant scale."

According to B.T.L., their latest multi-million dollar investment is the
second in five years. In 2002, as Belize Telecommunications Limited, the
company claims to have spent sixty million on the current G.S.M. network.

#251935 - 10/05/07 11:20 AM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
Thu, October 4, 2007
The signing of a contract between Belize Telemedia Limited and Nortel this morning marked the replacement and upgrade of B-T-L’s cellular phone and internet service.
The signing of a contract between Belize Telemedia Limited and Nortel this morning marked the replacement and upgrade of B-T-L’s cellular phone and internet service. According to Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for B-T-L Dean Boyce, this upgrade comes as part of a promise made by the company to Belizeans.

Dean Boyce,Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for B-T-L:

“We made certain promises about delivering a full communication service to the whole community.We also made a promise to deliver free internet for schools across the whole country.To deliver those services,we need a new wireless service delivery platform.We also have an opportunity and the requirement to upgrade and basically replace our existing cellular GSN network and with technology moving so quickly,and the business and the industry and the various providers in the industry change so quickly,that we now have an obligation and opportunity to significantly upgrade our GSN network and we selected Nortel.”

Boyce said that the new system will better enable the current internet service to provide better reception and better quality to most areas of the country.

Dean Boyce,Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for B-T-L:

“Well the new worldwide installation ,the new GSN network,it will be all of our call fix lines.Switches will be ripped out and we’ll replace those.We’ll get state of the art IPS platforms and they will all be Nortel solutions.Sometime ago we started to deploy some 850 frequency base stations.We originally have 1900 but the 850 gives better range on exactly the same frequencies so it should be transparent to the customer.”

Arturo Cantun,Love FM:

“With this new service,are you going to reach a bigger range in Belize when it comes to services using cell phones,and using wireless internet?”

Dean Boyce,Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for B-T-L:

“We provide some internet over some cell phones at the momen,but that would be higher speed internet,and that would have expanded coverage over the country and it is cost effective using and 850 frequency and we’ve moved to another frequency which is the 450 frequency,and we’ve moved to a completely different wireless platform for that,but it will deliver both that and high speed internet.So that’s the solution in which we’ll be going for all of our locations.It can be used by emergency services,the Belize Defence Force,anybody that needs to use it in remote locations.It will also be able to be used by any of our customers that are willing to buy it.So for the high speed mobile internet,if you have a laptop and you want to go and sit out in Pine Ridge and use your internet,you would just take a 450 card and plug it into your laptop and you would get high speed internet there.”

Present for the signing for Nortel was the President of the Caribbean region, Ray Bulengo. Bulengo said that with this new system, Belize will be benefiting from new technology available in the region.

Ray Bulengo,Nortel Caribbean region President:

“Signing this contract has significant implications for Nortel as BTL being a valued customer of ours.It actually brings forth new technologies,new capabilities to the people of Belize and CDMA technology which provides broadband access,which BTL will be using up to now extend services outside to the rural communities,but also to serve the other communities as well.”

He added also that the new system set to replace the existing wireless network in Belize is one that is effective and is currently being used by other companies in the region and around the world.

Ray Bulengo,Nortel Caribbean region President:

“CDMA 450 has been used in a few countries and.Yes,one or two counties have deployed the CDMA 450 for purposes of providing broadband DSL,but it’s a fairly new technology in terms of being in the forefront,so I think Belize is somewhere in the forefront as well.It is coming from an established foundation,it’s not like a brand new technology but that exists but is sort of enhanced with the right broadband of capabilities which is called Enhanced Voice Data Only infrastructure, EVDO.”

And with all this new technology scheduled to be set up by Belize’s biggest telecommunication provider, customers may be interested what impact it will have on their pockets. Boyce assured that BTL has not intentions of raising its prices.

Dean Boyce,Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for B-T-L:

“We wont change anything.The charges stay the same,yes we have no intention.There are other complications within the industry that completely outs with the first.If we look at our international capacity,we might have twenty times more usage on the internet for capacity and traffic.Because when you put on your internet,you have it on in the day,you listen to the radio and you download your videos from YouTube and you search a variety of services,and that’s what people use their internet for.Only 6 ½ % of that total revenue is derived from internet,so we have the rest of it 75% and the rest of the charges and the other 5% is from the permanent call base charges.Now obviously,people are going to be increasing the use of the internet for a variety of services including voice.We will have a huge amount so that requires,not a total change in cost,but it requires bundling of how we charge our customers.The idea is that we get increasingly better and better value,but it will require a change around to how we bill customers.So we need to work together,and we need to look after ourselves together otherwise we would have certain problems.So we’re prepared to put our money where our mouth is.”

According to B-T-L, presently the company has one hundred and twenty thousand cellular customers and delivers over ninety percent of the country’s internet services. The new wireless network is scheduled to be installed in the first quarter of 2008.

#252082 - 10/06/07 04:46 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: Marty]
Mikeywaz Offline
Thanks for the update, Marty. We'll be in San Pedro in February, in part to check out potentially living there. I'd like to establish a web-based business, so it's good to hear about the planned updates. Based on your experience, how reliable is this? Will it be a significant increase in service? Thanks, on behalf of a couple of "nexpatriates."


#252089 - 10/06/07 07:52 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: Mikeywaz]
dabunk Offline
See part of the problem is there system now is GSM, CDMA is totally different technology. GSM phone will not work on CDMA system. So what happens with all those customers currently with GSM phones?

#252092 - 10/06/07 08:58 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: dabunk]
SimonB Offline
From what I've read we're screwed. We'll all have to pony up for new phones that are CDMA compatible. Of course BTL will have a good stock of CDMA phones to sell us at overly inflated prices.

#252093 - 10/06/07 09:05 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: SimonB]
SimonB Offline
To add to that note, most of the US is GSM so I'm assuming that frequent visitors to Belize will no longer be able to install chips in their phones for use in Belize. Roaming shouldn't change.

According CDG.org, CDMA networks support over 270 million subscribers worldwide, while GSM.org tallies up their score at over 1 billion.

#252094 - 10/06/07 09:09 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: SimonB]
dabunk Offline
Well Smart is CDMA already. And I do not think most of the US is GSM, market is split pretty evenly. Do a search on eBay for either and there are lots of both systems. But the sim card with GSM is nice, if the phone dies, just put it in the new phone. Went to Smart this last week and they want 40Bze to transfer number from one phone to another.

#252095 - 10/06/07 09:12 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: SimonB]
DitchDocDiver Offline
I might have mis read the orginal post. I see "as another option to cell phone users."

Does that mean GSM and CDMA (verizon?), or is there some other network that is in place?
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#252096 - 10/06/07 09:18 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: DitchDocDiver]
dabunk Offline
It says completely remove the existing GSM and replace with CDMA. Their new CDMA system will allow better coverage for wireless networks plus cellphones. Get ready to buy new phones if you have a BTL rig now. But then BTL said they were doing away with analog service 5 years ago and it is still thriving, even putting out new numbers last year. Maybe if this system has large enough coverage they will finally do away with analog as well.

#252098 - 10/06/07 09:26 PM Re: B.T.L. announces $50 million upgrade [Re: dabunk]
dabunk Offline
We switched to Smart earlier this year for phone service, and are very happy. But their wireless internet is so slow and 110 Bze per month. Hopefully BTL wireless is much faster and competitive with sat costs.

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