By Marion V. Ali
Importers who retail cell phones that don’t have the capacity to be connected through BTL’s 4G network, except if they are reconfigured to do so, are up in arms at a decision taken by the company to discontinue the service to all new phones that fall in that category.
The retailers are concerned that the company’s decision will, in effect, cause a sharp fall in the sale of their phones. Quite a few of the distributors of “cloned” or generic phones are also concerned that not only will they not be able to sell what they have in stock, but that this translates into tens of thousands of dollars for their business, an amount that they will not be able to recover from in the coming weeks.
The decision by BTL means that any cellular phone that cannot be connected to the 4G network after it is unlocked, including those programmed to AT&T and Sprint are now restricted from the service. The decision was a long time coming, and Telemedia had sent out awareness notifications about its intentions. Those intentions were put into practice on February 10th.
Dionne Miranda, BTL’s General Manager of Customer Services, says that at some point the company had to take action because it had been receiving an increasing number of these “cloned” phones, which was locking up the company’s system.
Miranda told The Reporter that accommodating these phones eventually compromised customers with cell phones that were actually compatible with their network.
Those customers, explained Miranda, began experiencing a loss in the quality of the service, and it came to a point of deciding between either disallowing new connections or losing legitimate 4G customers.
What the decision has done is restore the quality of service, including internet speed to the existing customers. For instance, customers who were experiencing problems with “dropped calls, or slow internet speed, will now see improvement.
While Telemedia has discontinued connection with ”cloned” phones, the company says that people who already had their phones connected to the 4G network, whether compatible or not, have not been and will not be disconnected from the network.
The company urges its customers who experience any difficulty with their phones as a result of ongoing adjustments, to power off and on their phones, and in the event that does not work, to either call its 119 operator services or visit its customer care representatives at any of its branches.
Meanwhile, to its new customers who would like to use the 4G service, BTL advises them to check the phones before purchasing, to see if they have configurations that are compatible with its system.
This can be done by going into the Settings icon and locating the GSM mode.
If that cannot be done, and 2G is the only option available, then the company advises that the phone has been manipulated and it will not work on the 4G system.
Those types of phones and any other that cannot be programmed to the 4G network can, in most cases, be programmed to the company’s 2G, 3G, 4G or WCDMA.
Lastly, the company says that it is partnering with local phone retailers, distributors and unlocking companies to see how best they can work with facilitating the phones they still have on the shelves.