Phone companies ready to turn off unregistered phones
Though it doesn’t really compare, a lot of people across the country may feel the digital age’s earth shifting and collapsing under their feet. The super information highway is often travelled not on a desktop computer, but on a cellular phone. Conversing, texting, emailing, and paying bills are only some of the ways in which phones are being used. And since October of 2011, prepaid cell phone users from both telecommunications companies—SMART and Belize Telemedia Limited—were to register their phone numbers. It is a statutory instrument in the amended Telecommunications Act that was implemented by government as a means to fight crime. The deadline for the registration process was initially announced for March fifteenth, but was extended until April twelfth and then to July thirteenth; giving most persons ample time to engage in the process. That is because, as of this Friday, all numbers that have not been registered will be turned off. So have you registered your phone? For SMART customers, SMART is extending all its opening hours to six p.m. to allow them to register their phones. Public Relations Officer, Ian Courtenay, says that over seventy-five percent of its customers have registered their phones and they are asking others to come in and do so to avoid being disconnected.
Ian Courtenay, Public Relations Officer, Smart Belize
“So far we have had about seventy five percent of our customer base who have come in and registered their phones. We have of course been reaching out to the remaining twenty-five percent of our customer base via text messages and ads and television and radio and the newspaper reminding them of the deadline. We have received instructions at the end of the week, the thirteenth, Friday; we have instructions what to do once that date has arrived. The instructions that we got is that at the end of the working day on Friday, which for us is six o’clock—we have extended hours for all our show rooms for this week. So all showrooms will close at six to give customers time to come in. But at six o’clock on Friday, we have instructions from the Ministry of National Security that all unregistered numbers are to be turned off.”
“I was expecting more people in here today. Do you think people are waiting for the final hour to come in at the final hour to register their phones?”
“We have seen over the past couple days an increase and like yourself, I expected that today would be much busier than it actually is. But yes, I think come Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, the story will be different.”