Friday, August 2, 2019

Globalization and BTL Essay

The impact of globalization on BTL has been positive with increased indicators which show major progress in increasing levels and growth. The 1990s witnessed moderate economic growth for Belize which resulted in a record growth of telephone services with an average annual growth rate of ten percent. Also with the increase in teledensity, there have been improvements in network modernization (BTL, 2008). The efficiency of BTL has added to the benefits. The percentage of digital lines is reported to increase by the end of the decade. The number of lines per employee has also increased which points towards an increased growth path that tends to reach efficiency levels which are similar to developed countries. The objectives of the telecommunications reform in Belize have been mixed. The achievements in terms of penetration and access are uneven. There is an internal growth gap in urban areas with higher access as compared with lower telephone penetration levels in the rural areas. This limitation has been caused by the inequalities of the telecommunications infrastructure. Metropolitan areas tend to have most of the infrastructure concentrated while minimum services are offered in rural areas. Growth in the telecommunications sector has been slow in 2007 because of the high costs of installing the network and lack of profitability of the service in rural areas (BTL, 2008). Mobile telephone services together with changes in technology have begun to experience an accelerated process of growth in Belize. The mobile phone market in Belize enjoys less regulatory dependence and the need for survival of the dominant company. The overtaking of fixed telephone services by mobile services was driven by the introduction of pre-paid systems. The average growth in users of mobile telephony was thirty percent in Belize in 2007. BTL has entered into a consolidation process where mobile telephone services are becoming part of the picture. The level of dynamism and growth of the telecommunications sector has been spectacular especially for the mobile telephone services (BTL, 2008). This increases the access to telecommunication services. However the government continues to focus on promoting fixed line connectivity and internet access. BTL’s introduction of mobile phones has assisted in increasing the access to telecommunication services and closing the digital divide. The pre paid option has been attractive for Belizeans because of universal access and convenience for lower economic groups. Research also shows that Belizeans prefer mobile telephone services over traditional telecommunications access. One of the advantages has been that the lower activation cost for the user in the case of mobile services as compared with fixed telephone services. The pre paid option also offers attractive alternatives for people because it allows the user to control costs and avoid signing contracts. The operator also finds it cost effective because it does not have to send monthly account balances. BTL mobile telephone services have lower costs in terms of initial costs and usage costs. The cost of mobile telephone services is half that of fixed telephone services. The number of mobile phone subscribers has increased from nine percent to thirty percent in 2007 (BTL, 2008). BTL has improved its performance since the advent of globalization because of lower transaction costs and reduced uncertainty. This has increased the efficiency of markets and administrative organizations. The company has contributed in assisting agricultural companies in comparing prices in various markets. It allows them to obtain the highest prices for their produce and eliminate dependency on local middlemen. It also enables them to modify their products and respond to market demand (BTL, 2008). BTL has also helped to assist organizations in ordering spare parts and immediate contact with technicians which can reduce time lost due to broken machinery. Business organizations have also reduced their inventories because replacements can be ordered and delivered as needed. Contact between producers and shippers can be arranged on schedules for delivery of products to markets which reduces the risk of spoilage. It also has assisted in significant savings in personnel time and travel costs. BTL has also assisted in maximizing the efficiency of shipping so that trips are not wasted while consumption of fuel is minimized. Industries are also migrating to rural areas which allows for decentralization of economic activities. BTL’s mobile phone services have also increased as rural areas prefer them for their economic development. It allows rural areas to use them heavily and spend their income on mobile phone services (BTL, 2008). The demand for mobile phones is heavy in rural and remote areas because of the perceived contribution towards the rural economy. BTL has become highly popular because of its cheap services. The telecommunications sector in Belize is dominated by BTL which has a monopoly on telecommunication services in the country. The 1990s witnessed an annual growth of lines which averaged fifteen percent (BTL, 2008). Line installation has been focused in urban areas which account for sixty five percent of total lines (BTL, 2008). Despite the expansion in the number of fixed lines, the investment has not been sufficient to cover demand for the service. The cellular market has been one of the fastest growing in 2006 and 2007. Still BTL faces the challenge of meeting the growing demand of basic services and data communications. A fast growing internet market has also not satisfied the expectations of consumers. The liberalization of the market has brought benefits as the country uses resources to meet new demands. The mobile sector has the longest growth rate because of the rise in standards of living. The mobile sector is also attractive because of its reliability, efficiency, and low cost as compared with the fixed telephone services. Globalization has also helped BTL in digitizing the telecommunications system as the proportion has grown from thirty percent in 1998 to fifty percent in 2007 (BTL, 2008). BTL’s fiber optic network links several neighboring countries. The network allows connections to submarine cables and networks operated by other countries. BTL provides cellular services to a large number of subscribers. The cellular service has increased its coverage in the past years with services being moderately good for consumers. Liberalization has enhanced the ability of BTL to purchase and acquire cellular phone technology for consumers. Telecommunications reform has assisted BTL in improving its efficiency and meeting the demands of the changing environment. The government wants to give BTL complete administrative, technical, and financial independence with some functions controlled by the government. It also aims to allow for joint ventures and strategic alliances with other companies. Restrictions on foreign participation are also reputed to be removed by the government. It aims to state the public interest of modernizing and developing telecommunications through the process of liberalization of the market in order to allow market participation. A capital investment program to upgrade the country’s GSM cellular service and deploying wireless technologies in the rural areas was announced in 2007 (BTL, 2008). The company also increased funding for network development by investing an estimated forty three million dollars. It also installed eight hundred and fifty MHz frequency equipment to increase the coverage of cellular phone consumers. An updated prepaid intelligent billing system was launched in 2006 which would facilitate and provide user friendly services (BTL, 2008). This program was also reputed to stimulate demand for mobile phone services of the company. A new wireless network with a frequency of four hundred and fifty MHz has also been proposed which will provide telecommunications services for businessmen, professionals, government officials, security forces, fishermen, and other residents with mobile phone services (BTL, 2008). The company’s fixed line services have not been successful because of globalization. This is because of the unstable economy and low population in large parts of the country. Fixed lines are concentrated in the urban areas where they provide services for certain customer groups. BTL has reported losses in fixed line domestic services which include line access charges and per minute call traffic. BTL has also not increased customer rates from 2001 till 2007. It also implemented several reductions in price for various data communication and satellite services. Internet capacity tariff was reduced by a percentage of ninety percent. Tariff reductions have assisted in increasing the number of consumers. DigiCell prepaid customers were offered discounts of twenty five cents for calls. Other features were also introduced which included further discounts for consumers who call for more than five minutes. SMS to email was a service offered for prepaid customers which allowed them to send messages throughout the world. The number of DigiCell consumers rose from ninety three thousand to one hundred thousand in 2007 (BTL, 2008). The total number of cellular consumers has risen to one hundred and eighteen thousand in 2007 (BTL, 2008). Siemens has been providing technical assistance to BTL for the maintenance of the cellular network. The company has also aimed to create modern cellular equipment along with high speed internet services to consumers. Globalization has assisted the company in increasing its cellular business which now comprises a major portion of its net income. The rapid growth of BTL has allowed it to implement customer friendly billing and care systems. Outdated systems have been gradually phased out. Post paid customer and billing system will be implemented in various stages of 2008 (BTL, 2008). BTL will be able to access information of consumers which will help it to increase its reliability and effectiveness. Other major developments have been the use of information technology systems to enhance the administrative, technical, and financial functions of the organization.

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