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BTC to cut rates, improve broadband services

New CEO of BTC says that network developments will place The Bahamas in pole position in the region in terms of telecommunications. Along with increased services and Internet speeds, the recently privatized company aims to slash costs and establish retail outlets in the jurisdiction. 

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Date:
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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Two months after its $210-million sale to global communications firm Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) Plc, the Bahamas Telecommunications Co (BTC) has laid out its plans to take the company forward–promising faster broadband services, a cutting-edge mobile network, reduced rates and improved customer service.

BTC has invested $43 million in a new 4G mobile network service, which will allow customers to access the internet from their cell phones or laptops anywhere there is a cell signal. This new service will be available in New Providence and Grand Bahama by the end of this year with the rest of The Bahamas receiving it within 18 months.

Chief executive officer Geoff Houston, who took the helm of BTC two months ago, believes that the new technology will “catapult The Bahamas into the number one spot, enjoying the fastest mobile network in the region.”

Internet speeds will also increase over the coming year thanks to BTC’s Next Generation Network, which is currently being tested in Coral Harbour. “We are getting high speed broadband to market as fast as we can,” says Houston.


Houston also says that the company has realized $11 million in savings since its takeover. “We have used our buying power to significantly reduce some of our costs. We negotiated new network contracts at better rates and renegotiated existing contracts,” he says, adding that new rates set to be introduced in early July would bring down costs for customers. By mid-July, the company hopes to offer lower roaming and long distance tariffs.

BTC, which was privatized in April following the sale of 51 per cent of its shares to CWC, is also planning to introduce a new range of headsets and devices including tablet style phones such as the Blackberry Playbook, the Galaxy Tablet and, eventually, the Apple iPad.

Also on the agenda for the new management team is improving customer service and launching new retail stores, with its first flagship store to open in The Bahamas before Christmas.

“We are starting to get under the skin of everything and we are moving from a paper-based exercise to a real one,” Houston says. “We are starting to deliver on our earlier promises.”

The global telecommunications company completed the acquisition of the national company for $210 million during an official signing in Nassau. Pictured are Gerard Borely – CFO for LIME, Eugenia Cartwright – Treasurer of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and The Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham – Prime Minister.

BTC agreement reached

cboal@dupuch.com

Around 200 delegates converged on the Colonial Hilton Hotel in downtown Nassau yesterday to discuss issues key to the further development of the financial services sector in The Bahamas. Addresses covered a diverse range of topics including emerging markets in Latin America and the application of SMART Funds in wealth management.

Speaking at the Nassau Conference last week, Brian Moree, senior partner with Mckinney, Bancroft & Hughes, said that The Bahamas was in need of a ministry solely dedicated to financial services. The leading lawyer also advocated a single regulatory body to oversee the entire sector.

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