BTC begins expansion with $500K flagship store
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has invested $500,000 in its new flagship store in The Mall at Marathon and embarked on a multimillion-dollar expansion of its service and retail offerings. Last night, BTC welcomed Hubert Ingraham, the prime minister, and officially flipped the switch on the company’s much anticipated 4G network.
The move is expected to not only bring the country’s telecommunications into the 21st century, but also drive employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. “The majority of the new stores and kiosks will be owned and operated by Bahamians,” said Marlon Johnson, vice president of marketing, sales and business development for BTC. “We are refurbishing a lot of our existing properties and looking to create opportunities for people who want to open small centers or kiosks in existing stores as well.”
In fact, the flagship store is the first of 50 planned for The Bahamas.
Another BTC center is being planned in Grand Bahama for Dec 12. Johnson told Guardian Business the rollout “will be proportional to the population” and a priority is to spread the technology and offerings throughout all of the islands.
Geoff Houston, the CEO of BTC, called the launch of 4G a “new chapter” in the way we communicate.
The upgrade is expected to considerably enhance service for both everyday customers and those in business.
“At BTC, our vision is to create powerful connections and inspire meaningful change for the betterment of The Bahamas and this evening we think we are doing just that, for this is not just about a store,” he told the crowd. “It is about making a way of life easier, more convenient, simply better.”
The launch follows a $43 mil- lion capital expenditure in the network and a $55 million investment in NGN, the platform which boosts all of the nation’s telecoms capabilities.
The transition, Houston added, makes Nassau on par with places such as Hong Kong, central Europe, the UK and “ahead of many areas in the United States of America”.
While the 4G network is a key element to BTC’s ambitious plans, the flagship store is also representative of the company’s “transformation”, Johnson told Guardian Business.
The space, measuring 6,500 square feet, attempts to combine with a futuristic and traditional feel for Bahamians. “All of the phones and technology will be live. This is not a hands-off, behind-the-glass experience. We want customers to talk to our staff, get a chance to play with the products and get a feel for them,” Johnson ex- plained.
The store includes a Junkanoo mural by well-known artist Anthony “Big Mo” Morley, who was on hand to sign it at the ceremony last night.
The BTC branding, Johnson added, is meant to use dynamic and organic Bahamian colors.
Meanwhile, the focus on trying out the technology and at least two interactive kiosks bring the experience into the 21st century.
The Golden Girls, gold medal winners in the 4×100 relay in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, were also on hand last night for the announcement.
The actual grand opening for the flagship store is set for Sat- urday, and according to BTC, entertainment and activities are scheduled throughout the day.