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Nov 18, 2009

B.T.L. gives one week notice before pulling plug on Smart

25873In August the government nationalized Belize Telemedia Limited and since then it has made public statements against its competitor, Smart. The two have embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns, but Telemedia has gone one step further and is literally pulling the plug on Smart and it looks like the days of the monopoly are not too farfetched. Chief Marketing Officer of Smart, Anthony Mahler, says government gave them a deadline to make changes on one of its systems. Mahler says the transition can be made, but completing it in one week is an impossible feat since it requires the importation of the necessary satellite and other equipment. He says Smart has asked B.T.L. to provide them with a temporary link in the interim, but the silence has been deafening.

Anthony Mahler, Chief Marketing Officer, Smart
“Last week Friday we got a letter from Belize Telemedia Limited advising us that they will cut the circuits that provide service for international voice and international roaming to our customers. Our issue with this is that they are not giving us ample time to find an alternative solution. They’re giving us a time frame of this coming Friday to address the issue. We’ve gone through all the channels that we have to try and address the situation and we haven’t gotten a favorable response. And if it goes through this Friday ninety thousand customers will be without international service and all our roaming customers won’t be able to travel abroad with their phones. We’ve put our positions forward, we’ve stated to them that if we can’t have access to the E-1 links again—that’s what we call the circuits—then we want access to Arcos. They haven’t responded to that. Arcos is the link between the United States, Central and South America. We’ve escalated this thing to the P.U.C. and we’ve asked them to intervene and try to mediate this process going forward. We’re a member of Chamber and we’ve also raised the concern to the Chamber that hear what, a lotta people, a lotta businesses will be affected if this thing goes through. We consider it an act of hostility to be honest. To give us one week to find a solution or a fix to this issue is unreasonable from our standpoint.”

Marion Ali
“What do your customers do now? What’s your message to them?”

Anthony Mahler
“Well we’re trying to rectify the situation and we can only hope that we can continue to give the best possible service within the coming days. When the government nationalized B.T.L. they’re talking about true competition but if they continue to act in this way then what about true competition right?”

Mahler says Smart is installing a toll-free number so that its customers can call the PUC’s lines and state their opinion on the matter at no cost to them.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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