Bhutan Telecom promises ‘once again’ to soon improve 3G services

Bhutan Telecom (BT) will improve 3G services in three months time, announced the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tshewang Gyeltshen, during the DHI’s Annual Press conference on 15th of June. It hopes to provide satisfactions to customers with planed investments in the mobile service.

The CEO emphasized it is essential to keep up with the latest industry trends as BT is a technology-driven company. He said it was quite challenging to meet the ever increasing customers’ expectations and to cope with the rapidly developing telecom technology at the same time. “Achieving these objectives involves a large amount of investment and having a good return is sometimes difficult, considering the size of the country’s market. But 2014 was fairly successful year for BT,” he added.

The company is working very hard to provide satisfying services to its customers, he claimed. “We are working very hard on the 3G congestion problem. We’ve invested about Nu. 700 mn and hope that our technician team will address the problem very soon,” he said. The CEO admitted BT had received complaints from customers, but he believed the company is doing well.

The company’s 2014 Annual Report states that major mobile network expansion has been carried out with the emphasis given to mobile and Internet services to reach the un served area to ensure all Bhutanese can have access to global information. The report also says that the company will make further investments in the network expansion, focusing especially in its 3G service to address issues such as call drops, slow internet speed and the network congestion. Further, to keep pace with the fast evolving technology and sophisticated market, the company will also make investments to lay fiber cables in the core areas including Thimphu, Paro, Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Jakar, and deploy fibers to buildings to improve broadband services.

The report says that the 3G service has been deployed in 19 new locations and is now available in 16 Dzongkhags, while the 4G (LTE) service expanded with 6 additional sites, resulting in fairly good coverage in Thimphu. The 2G service has also been introduced to 17 new sites for better mobile coverage. A 10Gbps link has been created from international gateway in Gelephu to Thimphu to improve internet access within populated areas of the country.

In spite of growing customer expectations and stiff competition in the market, BT has performed financially well with an annual revenue of Nu.2.401 bn in 2014 against Nu.2.328nn in 2013, which is an increase of 3.1%. The report also explains that the profit before tax in 2014 is Nu.727.25mn, an increase of about 7.7%, while the profit after tax is Nu.504.13mn against Nu.406.71mn in 2013. That is an increase of almost 24% calculated based on income tax rates for depreciation. The profit based on Bhutanese accounting standard amounts to Nu. 473.91mn.

BT’s prepaid mobile subscriptions have increased to 443,480 by the end of 2014 from 394,694 in 2013, which is an increase of 12.3%. However, the post-paid mobile subscriptions decreased by 5.1% from 11,659 to 11,063. The number of broadband subscribers increased from 20,391 to 24,904, with an increase rate of 22%.

The leased line internet customers increased from 239 in 2013 to 300 in 2014, while the fixed line telephone subscription had decreased from 26,485 to 23,823 in accordance with the global trend.


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