Declaring that The Bahamas “leapt light years ahead with a single call,” BTC CEO Geoff Houston announced moments ago that the first test 4G cell phone call and internet data session was placed at 11:12 am on Friday, November 11th, paving the way for the long-awaited high-speed network to go live before Christmas.
“There were two steps to the test,” said Houston. “The first was a call and the second was transmission of data [internet connectivity]. Each was a 100% success with no delays, no faults, just as smooth as can be. For all the technicians who sweated through the exercise or those in management who had sleepless nights, your hard work has been rewarded. The future in telecommunications is here and it begins with this.”
The historic test call and data session are key milestones in the two-year, $45 million investment in BTC’s 4G network that is currently underway.
“Once the system is fully engaged, The Bahamas will rank among countries with the most advanced telecommunications capabilities in the Western Hemisphere,” said Houston.
“We are extremely proud of that fact and want to take this opportunity to thank the entire team who are working tirelessly to make the promise of 4G come true. We have leapt light years ahead with a single call.”
According to Marketing Manager Marlon Johnson, the launch of 4G will pave the way for touch- screen Androids, BlackBerrys and the entire hi-speed smart-phone family which are turning the handheld devices into internet and entertainment providers.
“With 4G, a phone is much more than an instrument used to place or receive calls,” Johnson said.
“When 4G goes live BTC customers with smart phones will be able to download music, flip through YouTube, handle banking transactions, reserve tickets for a show, watch BBC News or a live game if the TV network app that is airing the game is part of the package they chose or if they have the app. You will never look at your phone the same way again and we at BTC are really excited about it.”
The launch of 4G will fulfill a key commitment that Cable & Wireless Communications made when it purchased 51% of the company in April. BTC intends to launch its 4G network in New Providence and Grand Bahama before Christmas and roll out the network to the vast majority of Family Island communities in 2012.
The company indicated that the full schedule of individual island 4G launches will be made public as the respective schedules are finalized.
The introduction of 4G will be the latest in a series of improvements in service and rate reductions since the company was privatized six months ago. In August, it eliminated all connection charges for cell phone calls made within The Bahamas, doing away with long distance connection charges between islands and creating a single domestic rate structure. It has also unveiled a full range of money-saving summer promotions, introduced online and retail location topping up of minutes for pre-paid customers and announced plans to transform telecom buying, servicing and payment experiences throughout the islands within the next two years.