Over the past couple of weeks, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) has been turning on the 4G network in Belmopan, Ladyville and Belize City and on Friday, December 14th, the company held a soft launch to introduce the new super fast mobile speeds.
According to BTL's Executive Chairman, the contract was signed with Ericsson in January of this year and one year of work later, the system is fully functional. Vasquez explained that staffers at the company literally worked day and night in order for the system to be up and running. He said that with the new 4G system, "your office will be in your shoes".
At Friday's launch, major customers and staff lined up to begin to enjoy super speeds of data transfers on mobile devices. Karen Bevans, CEO of BTL said that with Information Communication and Technology being a development stimulus, the 4G system will stimulate growth in various sectors. She gave examples where long distance learning cannot take place online from a student's home. Healthcare can also be improved where medical files can be shared with medical professionals in various countries for diagnosis and treatment. The challenge after the introduction of the 4G system, said Bevans, is the company’s now marketing the product to various sectors to see where it can be applied to improve efficiencies.
Lisa Stanford, Marketing Manager at BTL says that with the introduction of 4G, Belize now comes in part with the most advanced ICT countries in the world, "it is something that our customers wanted", she said.
The company will now roll into the second phase of the project said Tom Noble from Ericsson in the Caribbean. That will include expanding coverage to areas where the system has not yet been turned on. He says it has been a pleasure working in Belize and was impressed that BTL was able to introduce the new service within a year.
Even as the system has been turned on, those who wish to access 4G service need to sign in with BTL to enjoy it. According to Customer Cervices Manager at BTL, Dr. Dionne Miranda, because most people have intelligent phones, service to those devices are being interrupted. She said that as it is, the handsets automatically look for the best service available in any particular area and since the customer is not yet logged on with BTL, the service is not yet available to them. The solution to this is to set the phone to GSM and take it off the 4G system until you apply for the service with BTL.