BTL restricts home usage of certain pre-paid calling cards

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 26            July 10, 2003

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As of July 1st, 2003, phone customers trying to use non-BTL, long distance, pre-paid calling cards from home service lines are receiving the message that this is no longer an option through Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL). Customers are now instructed to dial 871 to reach an outside operator. Upon reaching the operator, they are told they may use a charge card or chargeable phone card to make their call, or they can choose to make a collect call. 

   Following several complaints made to the newspaper, The San Pedro Sun investigated to find a reason why the sudden change in service. Upon contacting the San Pedro BTL office, it was learned that we needed to contact Public Relations in Belize City. After talking to Public Relations, it was revealed that pre-paid calling card access is not a "BTL service" but a convenience provided for tourists and visitors to the country. When BTL operators eventually became overburdened with requests for outside operators from people using pre-paid calling cards from other providers, BTL assumed that the increased usage stemmed from an abundance of local users circumventing BTL long distance service. "This is obviously local residents who are complaining, and the access was not meant for home use anyway," stated the BTL representative.

    According to the BTL Public Relations representative, this access is strictly being prohibited from home users. Access is still available at hotels and pay phones in tourist destinations. For example, a hotel may call BTL's Sales Department and request the access on one of their existing phone lines or install a special line for this specific convenience. Other than hotels, pre-paid phone card users may dial 811 at pay phones to access an operator or if a person chooses to charge their call or call collect, they may dial 871.

    So, for now, customers are advised to either give up using pre-paid long distance calling cards, walk to your nearest tourist destination hotel or pay phone, or bite the bullet and use the BTL long distance option (10-10-199) - this is the consumer's choice.
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