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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 16, 2024


May 9, 2003 – Have you seen that adorable commercial showing a man taking a picture with his cellular phone of a dog driving the car and then sending it to his girlfriend's phone? Or the one of a kid also taking a picture with a phone of his pet rat — and sending it to his mom's phone? Well, you can now do that for yourselves right here in the Virgin Islands.
How about a picture of an iguana falling out of a tree, or our own brand of rat — a mongoose? Or just send a shot of Magens Bay on a sunny afternoon to your friends in the States — that is, if each of you has one of the new digital camera phones and the PSC Vision plan from Sprint.
Not only can you transmit pictures from phone to phone; you can also, as shown here, send a picture of local radio and television personality Lee Carle — or anyone else — over the Internet from one of several varieties of the new camera phones.
The phones and the plans are available at the local Sprint office, now turned part retail store, at Upper Havensight Mall. A ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this week marked the store's opening.
Sprint long-distance service has been available and visible in the Virgin Islands since long-distance equal-access came to the territory about 10 years ago. But it was in 2002 that the telecommunications company entered the marketplace with cellular phone service — spending a lot of money to do it.
Gabriel Torres, general manager of Sprint's regional PSC division, said the company has made a $200 million investment in the territory to bring the Sprint PSC cellular service here and anticipates spending another $20 million this year to support the new services. He said Sprint has brought to the Virgin Islands the same cellular products and services available anywhere on the U.S. mainland.
"A Sprint customer coming in on a cruise ship will enjoy the same services available at home," he said.
Torres said the company is in the territory to stay. The new retail operation where the cellular phones and phone accessories are sold has added four people to the payroll.
Torres told a group of government and business people gathered at the opening ceremonies that this is "just the beginning."
Cellular service on the mainland, especially in major metropolitan areas, has become so reliable and cost effective that some people are opting to give up land phone lines altogether in favor of cellular plans that include long-distance calls the same as local calls in their monthly minutes. That hasn't taken hold in the Virgin Islands yet; but as cellular service improves, it could.

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