BTC customers will experience a leap in the quality, speed and consistency of cellular service when the company completes critical milestones of an ongoing 18-month, $42 million upgrade this June officials said today, a transformation that when completed by late summer will make wireless device service in The Bahamas among the best and fastest in the world.
“We are very excited about what the service of the near future will be,” said Marlon Johnson, Vice President Brand & Communications. “Meantime, we know that there will be some disruption as we move toward the new platform and we want to assure the public that we are trying to keep that interruption to a minimum and we will keep people informed every step of the way.”
According to Johnson, service disruption could reach its peak over one or two weekends leading up to the migration to the new platform in June.
“We are replacing platforms that are five to eight years old,” he said. “In this industry, there are significant upgrades every few years and if you do not keep up, you get left behind in the dust. But the platform we are in the process of installing will prepare BTC for competition and prepare customers, including businesses, in The Bahamas to take advantage of all the new devices that are coming to market.”
Once the new platform is in place, BTC hopes many issues related to dropped calls, late text messages, problems with topping up prepaid phones and voicemail access challenges will be “like a page in a history book,” said Johnson.
“The interesting thing is that the changes will improve both 2G and 4G network capability for cell phone users around the country,” said Johnson. “So whether you are using a modestly priced flip-top phone that is designed primarily for making and receiving calls or you have the greatest new BlackBerry, iPhone or Android on the market, you will enjoy uninterrupted, high quality calls and service.”
The replacement involves cutting over from the aging Nortel Network to a state-of-the art Ericson operating system that will direct the majority of the cellular voice traffic to a newer 2G Network, with the data traffic now then migrated to BTC’S new “blazin fast” 4G Mobile Network which was introduced to the market late last year. Because a major part of that work is scheduled for June, BTC officials wanted customers to appreciate the volume of work to be completed, the fact that hundreds of persons are involved and the information that the June phase will cause some disruptions during the migration period.
“It will be during June when we will push our major core network upgrades,” said Johnson. “That includes upgrades to our text platform as well as a brand new prepaid billing system. In addition we are going to start the migration from the Nortel 2G Network to the Ericson 2G network. Presently we have an Ericson 4G Network and the old Nortel 2G Network. This represents our final push to deal with a lot of that legacy equipment issues, and have a single operating network with compatible equipment. As we transition and cut over to the new network, there may be some bumps in the road. We will do all we can to try to minimize the disruptions, but we want to let our customers know what is happening. We do not want our customers to be caught off guard. The best analogy we can give is like changing a car’s engine while the vehicle is still speeding along an interstate highway. There is no way to just shut down the network and say give us a week. We are doing all we can to make it as painless as possible, but we have to be realistic about what our customers may experience.”