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Mar 26, 2001

B.T.L. lowers cell rates, hikes traditional calls

If you own a cellular phone or make calls to a cellular subscriber of the non-prepaid variety, you will soon see a dramatic reduction in your monthly bill. Belize Telecommunications Ltd. has announced that effective May first, the per minute rate will drop by twenty percent from eighty-five cents to seventy cents. Likewise, the discounted rate, which kicks in after eight at night, will drop from fifty cents to forty. Temporarily left out on the cold, however, are all those people who have recently purchased prepaid cellular service. Reductions for these calls, according to B.T.L.’s public relations department, are still under consideration and will be announced shortly, along with lower rates for Internet service. Those thousands of Belizeans who still rely solely on traditional phone lines may be dismayed to learn that low tech does not necessarily mean low pay. Starting April first the seven dollar and fifty cent discount traditionally applied to each phone line will disappear. The realignment of B.T.L. rates is in response to the impending deregulation of Belize’s telecom regime in 2003. B.T.L.’s main competition is likely to come on its wireless services like cellular, internet and data transmission and the company is lowering prices to head off competition. It is believed that few if any competitors will be interested in traditional local phone service, thus allowing B.T.L. to keep its monopoly and gradually jack up prices to maintain its hefty profit margins.

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