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Aug 23, 2007

Too much traffic overloaded SMART phones

Story PictureWater and electricity were not the only utilities affected by Hurricane Dean. While the larger B.T.L. network performed flawlessly in the critical hours before the storm’s landfall, by midmorning on Monday, SMART’s approximately thirty-five thousand customers began to experience difficulty making calls. According to Managing Director Jaime Briceno, the reason was congestion due to the company’s ever increasing consumer base.

Jaime Briceño, Managing Dir., SMART
“So during the day when everybody was trying to make phone calls congestion happened and not everybody could get calls. People could get calls through but it just took some time, a little bit longer than normal. We’re doing a review of that entire process and one of the issues is that we need to; for instance, expand the capacity, what we call the E 1s, which is the capacity of our transmission system. So we’re looking on that, we certainly will rectify that to allow that problem to be minimized. Congestion is something that cannot be completely eliminated. When you have an instance where you have—I don’t want to use the word panicked— but when everybody is so concerned at the same time, everybody’s calling, all systems get congested. So we cannot totally eliminate the problem but we’ll certainly work on it to ameliorate it and make sure that people are able to make their calls faster in these times on emergency.”

Briceno says that their tower in the Free Zone and some parts of their cell system were damaged during the hurricane. Those repairs are expected to be completed within the week which will bring SMART back to one hundred percent capacity.

And while they labour to get their systems back to normal, SMART is also working on several initiatives to help provide relief to the victims of Hurricane Dean. One of them is called The SMART Cares Appeal Fund.

Jaime Briceño, Managing Dir., SMART
“We are setting up a number you can dial ‘I care’ on your SMART phone, which is, works up to 42273, and you send a text message and that automatically will transfer a five dollars credit from your credit to a special fund. We’ll be matching that, so for every five dollars that you as a subscriber, as one of our customers gives, we’ll be matching that dollar for dollar. And these funds will pass over to the Red Cross, we hope that by the ending of this month we should be able to transfer the first amount to the Red Cross and then by mid-September again we’ll do another transfer to the Red Cross. So we’re appealing and urging all people to join in, I think there is an easy, quick and convenient way for people to give a little something to our brothers and friends in the north.”

Briceno says that as of Friday residents in Corozal will be able to visit their showroom in that town and access power to charge their cell phones. In addition, three phone lines will be made available where people can make emergency calls free of charge.


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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