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#433022 - 03/15/12 01:47 PM What If You Didn't Register Your Phone?
Marty Offline

Deadline TODAY: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone?

Tomorrow March 15th is the deadline for registering your cellular phone. If you don't - as the public notice says - you face disconnection.

Now that's nothing to play with - for most people, your cell phone is your lifeline. So we wondered, have the crowds been rushing the phone companies as the deadline appears in 24 hours? And how many phones have not been registered? And what will really happen if you don't register your phone by the end of business tomorrow?

We're sure you have the same questions so we went to SMART and BTL today looking for answers.

BTL says about 90 thousand of its customers have registered, but there are still more than a hundred thousand somewhere in the electronic ether:

Anjali Vasquez - Public Relations Manager, BTL
"We've been having a lot of people come into the office over the last couple of months. Almost 90,000 people have actually registered to date, and we're expecting another 100,000 within the next month."

Daniel Ortiz
"Can you tell us, what specifically has been the peak? I know that some people are still holding off until very much the end. Can you give us an overview of how it's been like?"

Anjali Vasquez
"Well, Usually, what we've been doing is when we see that the traffic has kind of lessened, we would then send out an advertisement saying, 'Come in and register,' to encourage and remind people about the benefits of registering their number. Like we keep saying, registering the number means that the number belongs to you, so if anything happens to the credit on that number, or the number itself, we have in your name that we can do something about it."

Daniel Ortiz
"I know that there is a bit of confusion between Speednet's registration deadline, and BTL's registration deadline. Can you speak to us on that?"

Anjali Vasquez
"Well, what we've been doing is when the first release went out - I think that it was at the end of September - the effective date for registration was in October, and we were given 6 months from that date to register clientele. And based on that 6 months, we're using April 12 as our date."

Daniel Ortiz
"I know that there are some people who are very much skeptical of this registration, and they tend to feel that, 'Oh well, they won't really turn off our phone. They can't do that to us; we own the phones.' How do you respond to those customers?"

Anjali Vasquez
"Well, what we've been telling customers is that we are following Government's orders when we request that you come in and register your phone. There are two sides to this. Yes of course, we have the Government asking us to comply in registering our customers' numbers. Every number needs to have an owner. But also, being that previously to this, prepaid customers were completely anonymous in our systems, now, they have a face."

And while that's the story at BTL, there were lines at SMART -where a company representative says about 70% of its customers have complied.

Just like Telemedia, they don't want to disconnect anyone's phone - but if the government demands it, they must. Here's their side of the story.

Ian Courtenay - Public Relations Manager, Speednet
"Well, the deadline that the ministry had given us was March 15, so we have advertised and notified our customers that this is the deadline that we're working with, and so customers have been coming in. Of course, as your viewers will be able to see, our showroom is full today. People are trying to get their phones registered before the deadline that we were given."

Daniel Ortiz
"How frequent do you guys see customers coming in, and on what sort of basis?"

Ian Courtenay
"It has been a constant stream in all our showrooms. This last week, it has picked up where have these lines that have been in existence all day. We're processing our applicants as fast as we can to minimize on their wait that they have, but I guess the deadline is here, and so, people are now - after election and all the other excitement - people are taking care of their business."

Daniel Ortiz
"I know that you guys have advertised that the specific action that you guys will take against customers who are unregistered is disconnection. Are you guys firm on that? Will that specifically be the first reaction?"

Ian Courtenay
"Well, that is not the reaction - or the action - that we want to take. The instruction that we got from the ministry states that we will be required to disconnect customers who have not registered. So, we will wait until we get the instruction that we must do that. And once we do that, we will have to comply."

Daniel Ortiz
"Can you give us some sort of estimate - a ballpark figure of the customers who have already registered?"

Ian Courtenay
"It changes, and with the rush now, we have a large percent. I would go as far as saying that over 70% of our customer base has already registered. I don't know - I haven't looked at the figures for this week, what has happened, but I know that all our showrooms are busy like this."

Strictly speaking, you have until 5:00 pm tomorrow to register your phone. After that, we'll see how it goes...

Channel 7

#433115 - 03/16/12 01:38 PM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Deadline to register cell phones adjusted
Today the offices of Smart across the country were packed with its customers to register their cellular phones. Smart’s Public Relations Officer, Ian Courtenay told us in an interview earlier today that they were given March 15th as their deadline to register their customers. And so the word got out and the Smart offices were flooded with customers who thought their time had run out. Courtenay assures that while your personal conversations and text messages can be traced for prosecution purposes, aside from that scenario, your communication with others is very confidential. The Police Public Relations Officer, the deadline for clients of both phone companies to register their cell phones is April 12th. To register your phones you need to take in an official form of identification, such as a passport or social security card along with the phone.

#433119 - 03/16/12 02:05 PM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

SMART Bluffed On Phone Registration Deadline

Last night we showed you how the cell phone registrations were going at both phone companies.

SMART! had been advertising that today was their deadline for registration, while BTL's communications officer told us that they were using April 12 as prescribed by the Government.

Well, as you might have guessed, with the threat of disconnection looming, a large section of the Belizean public decided to wait until the very last minute rush in and register their numbers at the Speednet offices throughout the country - which caused major lines.

The problem is that today is not the deadline that the Government gave like the company was advertising.

In a press release issued this morning from the Ministry of Police, they explained that Speednet made an error in calculation of the deadline, which gives both companies until April 12 as the day where services would be confiscated for unregistered numbers.

Today, 7News caught a glimpse of the rush to finish up even though there is still one more month left. We also asked Speednet's PR Officer what caused them to get it wrong.

Here's what he had to say:..

Ian Courtenay - Public Relations Manager, Speednet
"Because of complaints and so on coming in to them on the discrepancy between the dates that we have put out and our competitors have put out, they came to clarify the situation with us and it seems that there was a little bit of confusion in terms of when the six months period actually began, because we got our letter dated in September, but in fact the date in which the process was supposed to begin was October 11th I believe. So that would put the deadline, the official deadline in April 11th."

"They just wanted to clear up, to ensure that both companies had enough time and that none of the companies was put in an unfair position and they stated that they were considering extending the whole registration process to ensure that both companies were able to capture as many people who wanted to register their phones before they gave the instructions to cease service to none registered accounts."

Daniel Ortiz
"How serious are they about this extension after April 2012 deadline?"

Ian Courtenay - Public Relations Manager, Speednet
"Well, the representative told me this morning that they were going to make the suggestion to the Ministry of Utilities, the person I spoke to was from the Ministry of National Security and so I suspect once they have confirm and agreed on what the extension time will be then we will get an announcement about that."

"In the meantime we are continuing the process and now we have a grace period to say given the deadline we had publicized to include another month. We want to give customers the opportunity to get this done as quickly as possible, so that when the deadline, wherever that mark is put, our customers will have already completed the process."

"Certainly it was a genuine confusion and we hope that our customers won't be upset with us that they had to come in and endured the lines but, now that it's been done they no longer have to come in at any point, and this also gives us time to ensure our entire customers, because you know we have our postpaid customers and other customers who bought their phone directly from us who already have most of the information already in the system anyway, so that we will go through the process of checking to ensure that everybody has all requirements that the ministry has set out and for those who don't, that we can contact them on a one on one basis and ensure that they come in or send us or give us the relevant information so that we can have everything covered."

We note that at other Speednet corporate branches, there still were long lines of people waiting to get through the process this evening. Some of the company's representatives opted not to inform the people who were already in line about the change, in hopes of getting registered once and for all.

Channel 7

#433149 - 03/16/12 04:59 PM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Marty]
debbief Offline
So if I have a cell phone and SIM card that I bought in Belize, and I add minutes to it on every trip, does it need to be registered? I've had the same number for 5 years and would hate to lose it, but I won't be back down until the end of April.

I meant to ask about the registration when I was there in January but forgot, and no one mentioned it when I bought minutes....


#433215 - 03/17/12 05:44 AM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
I tried to register my Smart phone and they wanted me to bring in my passport. I never got around to it. Now my yard man has my phone and he didn't get it registered and when he tried to buy minutes today they told him they were out. I wonder if this has anything to do with not being able to buy minutes from unregistered phones.
I had no problem registering my digicell as the BTL people know me.
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

#433216 - 03/17/12 05:58 AM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Marty]
debbief Offline
That's interesting. My phone/minutes are Digicell so I hope I'll be able to add minutes and keep the same number when we come down next month.

I think we almost met in January! Did your golf cart have a problem and my husband and son-in-law gave you a little push by the Palapa Bar?

I keep thinking it would be nice to put some names and faces together when I'm down....

Thanks for the information. I just hope I can get my phone to work long enough to figure out what I'm supposed to do when I'm down!

#433217 - 03/17/12 06:09 AM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
Thanks for your help. In the future just introduce yourself. I often asj "Are you on the message board?" If they don't know what I'm talking about they probably are not. I've met some interesting people that way.
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

#433224 - 03/17/12 01:38 PM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: debbief]
Diane Campbell Offline
Originally Posted By: debbief
So if I have a cell phone and SIM card that I bought in Belize, and I add minutes to it on every trip, does it need to be registered? I've had the same number for 5 years and would hate to lose it, but I won't be back down until the end of April.

I meant to ask about the registration when I was there in January but forgot, and no one mentioned it when I bought minutes....


If your number is not registered, you need to register it or it will expire. They have announced that the final date for such registration is April 12.
Some folks had already registered so they could rest assured they could keep their numbers even if the phone is lost .....

#433252 - 03/17/12 02:49 PM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Phone clienteles line up for mandatory registration of SIM cards

Long lines could be seen at BTL and Smart offices across the country yesterday. Word was out that the deadline for registration of pre-paid cell numbers had arrived. Julian Cruz visited the respective offices here in Belmopan and filed this report. BTL and Smart.

Julian Cruz, PlusTV Journalist
Crowds rushed to form lines at both the SMART and BTL offices across the country today… But according to a Ministry of Police and Public Safety release sent out late last year, everyone must have registered their pre-paid cell within six months. The release reads “Belize Telemedia Limited and Speednet telephone companies will begin the mandatory registration of all existing pre-paid cellular numbers effective Tuesday October 11th 2011.” The release stated that it was giving a six months notice for all pre-paid phone owners to register their numbers. Those six months expires at the end of workday on April 12, 2012. A story by another news station last night combined with constant reminders by one of the Phone companies, spurred a hasty response by customers as they lined up today to complete the cell number registration process. PlusNews was at the lines and spoke with SMART customers about meeting the deadline before possible disconnection.

Smart Customer
I am a UB student and that is one of the reasons that I am just registering my phone, because I had too much work and now I finally have found the time to come and register my phone.

Julian Cruz, Reporting from Belmopan
Does this scare you, if they would just bar your phone and you wouldn’t be able to use it?

Smart Customer

Julian Cruz
How important is your phone to you?

Smart Customer

Smart Customer
Well I am very busy, but the law is the law, so in the midst of all that I have to do I believe that communication is important and so to keep the use of my cell phone, I had to comply.

Julian Cruz
We then went over to Belize Telemedia Ltd and found a less intimidating line inside. PlusNews spoke with a customer as well.

BTL Customer
I was hesitating to come, because I heard that they can tap your phone and I didn’t really feel comfortable with that, but now that I know everyone is doing it and it is a must, I have decided to do it too.

Julian Cruz
How important is your phone to you? So much that you don’t want your phone to be disconnected?

BTL Customer
Well; I have my family abroad, my family down south and my brothers that I need to get in contact with. I also use it for work. So I need it every day.

Julian Cruz
Again according to the government release “… that at the end of the 6 month registration period, all unregistered phones will automatically be disconnected by the respective telephone company.” clearly stating that cell numbers must therefore be registered or customers will face the consequence of having their phone numbers disconnected.

The measure was implemented by government to boost anti-crime efforts, to allow for the recovery of cellular numbers, to reduce cell phone theft, and to assist law enforcement in prosecuting crimes that involve the use of cellular phones


#433267 - 03/17/12 04:36 PM Re: What If You Didn't Register Your Phone? [Re: Diane Campbell]
debbief Offline
Is there a way to register the number if I'm not currently on the island and won't be back until 2 weeks after the deadline? There must be other absent owners/frequent visitors with the same problem.


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