BTC gets refitted for competition

27 Jul 2011

Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC), the new owners of the Bahamas’ wireless monopoly Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) has announced plans to update the brand. CWC has made the development of a 4G network a priority for the company, and hopes to have begun rollout by April 2012. CWC’s main concern, however is to prepare the company for competition, when the market is liberalised in 2014. On top of the new technology, this will consist chiefly of improving existing services and customer satisfaction.

The company has also launched a new pre-paid scheme, dubbed ‘EZ Top-Up’ which will allow customers to add credit of between USD1 and USD99 at numerous locations such as petrol stations and grocery shops. BTC intends to add more features later, such as specific deals for days of the week. EZ Top-Up will let the company strengthen its grip on its pre-paid segment, which it claims is its greatest source of revenue. Local paper Tribune Business was told by BTC that it was an area of concern for the company, as many vendors of its cards are currently unlicensed, and BTC is unable to exert any control over them. BTC claimed that the new plan is more straightforward and convenient for customers, removing the constraints of the existing USD5, USD10, or USD15 top-up system.

CWC has said that the restructuring of the company has been going well, although the new owners intend to reduce BTC’s staff by 30% with voluntary separation packages. According to CWC’s chief financial officer, Tim Pennington, uptake of the severance deals has been good so far, but there ‘is still a long way to go.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of March 2011 there were 420,000 wireless subscribers in the Bahamas, 55,000 of which utilised 3G services.