Last week, 7News told you about the decision that BTL made to change how the double and triple up credit works for their different promotions.
That decision has been criticized by some customers, but BTL says it's moving on up to international standards.
Well, there are more changes afoot. Next week Monday, phones made specifically for international gsm wireless companies such as the well-known US Brands like T-Mobile, and AT&T will no longer be accepted on the Digicell network.
Don't panic. It doesn't mean that if you're currently using those phones right now, that you will not get service come Monday. Your service will work just fine. BTL will only impose the restriction on newly purchased phones trying to access their network that have never been used before and need to be activated.
It may be an inconvenience to customers who may unwittingly buy a new phone with a foreign carrier's name on it, only to find out that they can't use it.
Those who will be most affected by this are the companies that sell phones who may have thousands of dollars of such phones in inventory that they can't sell any more. Today, we spoke with BTL's Customer Service Manager, Dr. Dionne Miranda about the decision. She told us that despite the inconvenience, they had to make the decision because those phones locked to international network specs bring down the quality of their 4G Network:
Dr. Dionne Miranda, General Manager of Customer Services
"It's a provision that the company had to take based on the fact that these phones that are proprietary to other networks don't have the settings to configure directly to BTL's network based on the fact that they are subsidized by those carriers abroad and when its subsidize they lock it only to their network because they are paying for a lot of the production of that phone, so when it comes to Belize now, we try to get it on the network for the customer and we mess around with the engineering codes and we affect the phone. At the end of the day that's wrong to do. That phone belongs to that other carrier. Besides that, it affects the way that it works on our network and it also affects the service that you our valued Digicell customers get right now, it slows down your data speeds, it allows you not to get through your calls and drop calls. So we've made a pro-active decision at this point that our customers that we have a very important to us and they deserve the best quality service."
"We are not going to get rid of any of the customers that we have because we have a loyalty and we do believe that we will continue with service to all of them. but at the end of the day we need to ensure that customers like yourself continue to receive that quality and so we will be restricting and ensuring that if your phone cannot automatically go on to our system because the engineering codes cannot work with our phone system then we will no long be allowing it and I believe that this is the situation that is best for our company."
"There are those companies like Celllar Plus, Cellular World, VIP Wireless, they have thousands of dollars invested in devices which may be exactly what you are trying to restrict and now their investment is diminished."
Dr. Dionne Miranda
"We had informed them a couple of months ago and so basically we believe that they would have worked on cutting down their inventory and so the awareness started from when we started with our 4G. I don't know if you remember, but we actually put out many notices saying what type of phones to buy, what was the best for the network and all of that. At the end of the day when you make a business decision that you know will affect your customers knowingly because the company had taken all of these steps and this is over a year old, then I believe that you have to bear that level of responsibility for yourself as well. Again from the very beginning when we launched 4G in December 2012, we sent out exact specifications of what our network works with and I believe that a year and 3 months' notice is ample for somebody to have depleted their stock and so when coming to us with something of that nature I believe that accountability and ownership is necessary because BTL never did not informed the customers."
We've reached out to a few of the cell phone distributors such as Cellular Plus, Cellular World, and VIP Wireless. They told us that they have to meet with BTL before they can give informed comments.
BTL advises that on Monday and afterwards, customers should ensure that newly purchased phones can access the network before leaving the stores and finalizing purchases. This is to ensure that the customer hasn't bought a phone that is essentially useless, since BTL will not unlock it to work on their network.