Belize Telemedia Inks 4G Deal With Ericsson
Government-controlled carrier Belize Telemedia Limited has announced it has entered into a deal with London based Sony Ericsson AB to to provided 4G network upgrade services for its Digicell Mobile network in Belize. A press release published on Belize newspapers this weekend says that:
“On January 20th 2012, Executive Chairman of Belize Telemedia Limited, Mr. Nestor Vasquez and Chief Operations Officer, Mrs. Karen Bevans took evolutionary steps towards bringing the fastest mobile network to Belize, when they signed a contract with world renowned telecommunications giant Ericsson, for the provision of an advanced mobile cellular network that will offer 4G services to DigiCell customers across the Country.
“In the coming months, DigiCell customers can look forward to the most popular and superfast 4G experience. In signing the contract, Thomas Noble of Ericsson elaborates “we will be delivering one of the latest technologies to Belize and from a user perspective, means about 10 times faster than current data speeds with endless amounts of applications, a quantum Leap from where the country is today”. BTL’s Executive Chairman added that “this partnership with Ericsson will allow BTL to modernize its DigiCell Network – one with much more capacity and speed, making it comparable to international standards such as the AT&T’s and the T-Mobile’s of this world.
Over the past two years alone, BTL undertook major service upgrades and expansions in DigiCell coverage and now, the anticipated introduction of 4G services is testament that the company will continue to provide customers with new and emerging cutting edge services including mobile broadband, mobile TV, video streaming, social networking, cloud services and many more applications to facilitate both the communication and entertainment needs of DigiCell customers, while on the go.
In keeping momentum with the latest wave of technology, devices and services in the telecommunication space, “offering connectivity at superfast speeds using next generation technology is only one of the many ways BTL is adopting to better serve the telecommunication needs of our customers” comments Karen Bevans, Chief Operations Officer of BTL. “The Company commits to making the user experience of DigiCell customers ‘faster than ever’ and to introducing the latest in mobile broadband services and devices. This will ensure that we keep Belizean Customers on par with those in the region, while allowing BTL to remain the number one telecommunications provider in Belize”, Bevans further stated.”
The government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow last year expropriated the assets of Belize Telemedia from its Belize and U.K. based investors in a controversial move that has shaken investors confidence in Belize and led to the drying up of foreign investments in Belize. The government of the United Democratic Party at the same time seized the assets of Canadian based Fortris investments which owned the electrical generation company Belize Electricity Limited. Last month the Belize government went the house of representatives to provide a sovereign guarantee for an $8 million loan from Heritage Bank to Belize Telemedia to help finance the Ericsson deal. The government guarantee was required as the BTL expropriation is mired is mired in controversy and uncertainty and embroiled in ongoing litigation. Prime Minister Barrow admitted as much in a statement to the media when he said that “BTL’s assets are, as you know, caught up in litigation, over a US$22.5 million debenture BTL had gotten from the British Caribbean Bank – a debenture which Government had also included in the acquisition orders of BTL in 2009 and again in 2011, when the nationalization was redone to address legal concerns over its propriety.“