How low can you go? The two phone service providers BTL and Smart are deadlocked in a race to the bottom - and the benefits accrue to you the consumer. In December last year Smart announced that it was slashing its mobile phone rates for the New Year and today BTL called us to their office to announce the lowering of their mobile per minute rate, to make it 22% cheaper than their previous 60 cents per minute rate.

Lisa Standford - Mobile Project Manager
"On January 1st, we permanently lowered our prepaid rates and that's a good news for all our customers. it is now 47 cents to call on-net, which is your calling a Digicell or a BTL so you could call a Digicell number, a home number, a business number for as low as 47 cents and when you are calling SMART, its 50 cents so that's a huge change that we have made. Its 22% lower than what we had before."

Emanuel Pech
"SMART primarily are known for their cheap rates. What is the strategy here, to beat them at their own game?"

Lisa Standford - Mobile Project Manager
"Well, no we are not here to beat anybody at their own game. We are here to give value to our customers. For the past 14 months we have been doing MORE campaign, we have been giving a lot to our customers. We've listen to them. We have given them awesome promotions from month to month. We've have lowered our SMS rate. We've have lowered our data rates and this is just one of the things that we have done for our customers. We've listened to them. They have asked for lower rates, we have given them lower rates. as BTL being the largest network in Belize right now it is your call last much longer with us because you are calling not only a mobile, but you are also calling a home phone or a business phone, so your credit now last a longer. So it's cheaper to be with Digicell on the largest network in Belize when you are using your Digicell mobile."

But while cheaper rates are of course something to be glad for, we asked BTL's Mobile project manager if there will be any cost cutting measures implemented in other areas of service to make up for the cheap rates. Here is what she told us.

Lisa Standford - Mobile Project Manager
"Well no it's not a cost cutting measure that we are going to be doing on another front. In terms of the double/triple up, we have been having them. We have been having mostly double. When we really looked at it, it was only a small percentage, less than 50% that was benefiting from the triple. We want to be able to offer it to all our customers. From the very first call that you make, you see the savings, 22% less. So with the triple, we are not saying that we are not having it but we just know that we want it to benefit everybody and for those who prefer the triple up which is less than 50% of our customers, we also have the post-paid plan that we recently launched, that you have double/triple everyday with those rates. So you have options. It's not a cost cutting measure. We are not going to end all the double/triple because of this. It's just another measure to have our customers satisfied."

We note that as of the start of this New Year both Digicell and Smart rates are at flat 47 cents per minute when calling within their respective networks and 50 cents per minute when calling to phones using the other mobile network.

Channel 7