By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is aiming to drive some 40,000 mobile customers to upgrade to smart phone technology, its chief executive yesterday confirming the incumbent carrier will start testing its TV product in Bimini next week.
Speaking at a press conference to announce BTC’s upgraded offerings, part of a $65 million network improvement package, Leon Williams said the goal was to make BTC a more customer-centric company.
“The $65 million to be spent over the next few months in this financial year is intended to do a number of things. It is intended to upgrade the mobile, broadband and fixed-line networks, as well as the enterprise network and customer touchpoints,” said Mr Williams.
“Some $26 million is being spent to upgrade the mobile network. We are preparing the network for growth, reliability and resiliency. There are some 40,000 customers in the mobile network that have smart phones, but these smart phones are not data ready.
“We are inviting those customers to come out to one of our stores where they can get an upgraded LTE chip at no cost and get a data plan.”
Mr Williams said BTC was not only preparing itself for competition but also to better serve some 209,000 cellular and 103,000 fixed-line customers.
On the fixed-line network, BTC has almost completed the migration of 103,000 customers from its legacy network to its Next Generation Network (NGN).
Acknowledging the recent $1.9 billion acquisition of Columbus International by BTC’s controlling shareholder, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), Mr Williams said BTC plans to launch Internet Protocol (IP) TV starting next week in Bimini.
“We are upgrading the broadband network and we are putting a value-add service on top of that and referring to it as IPTV,” said Mr Williams.
“We will start beta testing in Bimini, and subsequent to Bimini we will deploy the network in Cat Island and in Andros,” Mr Williams said.