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History

Telecommunications in Belize dates back to 1902, when a manual line linked Belize City with Consejo Village in the Corozal District in the Northern region of the country. Since then BTL has grown from a small company to Belize’s largest nationalized telecommunications company, providing the latest in cutting edge technology by deploying and maintaining its high quality networks. Today, the services and products provided by BTL are vast and varied and distinguished by efficiency, quality and advanced technology. The company has expanded its mission to go beyond just providing telephone service to providing telecommunications solutions for its residential, business and government customers.

BTL operates an extensive network of telecommunication services in wireline, mobile, data, Internet and value added features. Each offers a full range of products and services that include fixed line telephone service, fixed wireless, national and international calling services, prepaid services, GSM mobile network (GSM 850/1900mhz, GPRS and EDGE, HSPA+ 21mbps), international voice and data roaming, high-speed Internet service, high speed data service and national and international data networks.

Important Dates in BTL’s History


1902

A manual wireline links Belize City with Consejo Village in the Corozal District.

1956

Cable & Wireless, Plc, a British firm, introduces the first telephone system in Belize with international radio-telephone links.

1963

The Government of Belize gives Cable & Wireless a license for telecommunications services. C&W installs a 1,000 line step-by-step dial office in Belize City with access to international service using high frequency radio circuits.

1972

By Ordinance No. 22, the government establishes Belize Telecommunications Authority (BTA) as a statutory board. BTA assumes responsibility for the management of the national telephone services. C&W continues to provide international telephone services. In addition, the statutory body is established to not only operate, maintain and administer the national telecommunication services and to regulate, but also to control and plan all other internal and external telecommunication services.

1975

BTA begins operating regional services to Mexico and Central America.

1987

On December 13, C&W and BTA merge to form Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL). On December 30, the government vests the assets of BTA to BTL.

1988

On January 1, BTL is granted a 15 year exclusive license to operate the telecommunication services in Belize. BTL assumes responsibility for the management of the international telephone services previously operated by Cable and Wireless (C&W). Not long after, the company upgrades the intermediate date rate system which allows one circuit to facilitate five simultaneous conversations. The earth station is upgraded to digital technology and circuit multiplication equipment is installed.
In January, the customer base consists of approximately 7,800 telephone customers. By year-end the number totals 12,000.
Then customers were assigned a meter which was read every mo nth and charges calculated. The billing process was completely manual, handwritten, folded, sorter, enveloped and delivered. BTL later revises and upgrades its billing system to a computerized process called a Telephone Information System (TIS). TIS calculates and sorts all bills alphabetically in order of city zones and streets.

   

2001

Carlisle Holdings Ltd. Increases its BTL shareholdings to 52 percent. The company commits to a $50 million investment in GSM cellular infrastructure.

   

2002

The company constructed a GSM Network Nationwide, with capital expenditure amounting to $60 million

   

2003

Carlisle Holdings Ltd., announces its intent to sell its interest to the Government of Belize.

   

2004

On April 1, the Government of Belize acquires Carlisle Holding's BTL shares, and then immediately sells those shares, together with other Government BTL shareholdings, to Innovative Communication Corporation LLC. As a result of these transactions, on April 1 st, 2004 Innovative owned 83.7 percent of BTL.

   

2005

On February 9, following the failure of ICC to pay for 52% of the shares acquired from the Government of Belize, the Government took-back and subsequently re-sold those 52% shares to a number of private entities.
At March 2005, BTL was providing over 100,000 cellular lines, 35,000 fixed lines, and a wide variety of additional services including national and international data circuits, together with high speed internet using wireless and fixed line solutions.

   

2007

On May 29, with the coming into force of the Belize Telecommunications Undertaking (Belize Telecommunications Limited Operations) Vesting Act on May 29th 2007 (the “Act”), all the goodwill properties, assets, obligations and rights of Belize Telecommunications Limited were transferred to Belize Telemedia Limited.

   

2009

On August 25, by virtue of an Act of Legislature of Belize, the Government of Belize became the owner of the majority of the shares in Belize Telemedia Limited. The remaining shares are owned by 908 small shareholders

   

2011

In September, the General Sales Tax of 12.5% was removed from all Internet services for both fixed and mobile services.

   

2012

On January 20, BTL Executives took evolutionary steps towards bringing the fastest mobile network to Belize, when they signed a contract with world renowned telecommunications giant Ericsson, for the provision of an advanced mobile cellular network that offers 4G services to DigiCell customers across the Country.

   

2013

On April 30, all users of Internet services were given full and open access to VOIP based services and applications in Belize thus, closing the digital divide.

 

 

 

   
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