BTC customers throughout Abaco and the northern Bahamas will experience consistent, improved cellular service including faster speeds for downloads and browsing on smart phones when the company completes its revamp of the wireless system by mid-May, officials said today.
“We have completed 35 of the 41 cell sites in Abaco to date and expect to have the remaining few completed within the next several weeks,” said Marlon Johnson, Vice President, Brand & Communications. “When the work is done, customers will enjoy greatly improved service, fewer dropped calls and much faster speeds as Abaco goes from a 2G platform to the blazing speed of 4G.”
New Providence is already blanketed in 4G, the fastest speed available for wireless users, a technology so new that companies abroad in major markets where it has been introduced are tooting their horns and touting its strength, spending millions advertising its availability. Meantime in The Bahamas, Grand Bahama is nearly 100% converted to 4G and BTC said it hopes to have full national roll-out by late August with Abaco, Bimini and the Berry Islands to go live within days of each other about the middle of May.
“Abaco was a large territory to cover because of all the small cays and the sprawling lay of the land,” explained Johnson. “We have 45 cell sites in New Providence and 41 in Abaco despite the difference in population so you can see how comprehensive our coverage had to be. Because of the many small islands in addition to Great Abaco, a lot of the material had to be transported by boat or barge so it was a time-consuming task. Fortunately, we were blessed with good working weather for most of the winter which helped considerably.”
Johnson said the improved service in Abaco is expected to please the northern island’s extensive boating population.
“Abaco is the yachting capital of The Bahamas,” Johnson noted, “attracting thousands of boaters every year. Unlike the rest of The Bahamas where the main season is November through April, Abaco’s big season is summer when boaters come over primarily from South Florida. We are confident that they will be in for a very pleasant surprise when they turn their phones on and find that this little quiet set of islands and cays has gone 4G. Many of them will be coming from areas where they do not yet have that kind of speed.”
Although work is about 80% completed on all cell sites and supporting infrastructure, the launch of 4G will not take place in stages, but will occur all at once when work on the island and cays is 100% complete. When that date comes subscribers to 4G using BlackBerrys, Androids (like Samsung Galaxy) or iPhones will be able to upload to YouTube faster, download tunes, save or send photos, browse with Explorer or Firefox as fast as their eyes and fingers allow or even accomplish the most basic task, making a phone call on speed dial faster than ever before. In conjunction with the new speed, the company will open its first renovated store in Abaco April 26 in Treasure Cay.
BTC launched 4G in Nassau in December, coinciding with the opening of its flagship store in the Mall and Marathon. In early February it launched 4G and a new store in Grand Bahama and earlier this week it opened its latest store in a new location in the heart of downtown Nassau on Bay and George Streets with a huge block party for hundreds.