BTTB falling short of unrealistic targets

16 Nov 2006

State-run fixed line operator Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) failed to achieve its revenue target for the July-September period of its 2006/07 fiscal year, leading industry observers to call its business plan ‘unrealistic’. BTTB’s turnover was BDT3 billion (USD45 million) for the three-month period, short of its target of around BDT4.8 billion, and BDT200 million lower than its earnings in the same period of the previous financial year, reports local daily The Financial Express. The telco is targeting full-year revenues of BDT19 billion; its earnings in fiscal 2005/06 were BDT13.14 billion – way below the BDT18 billion it was aiming for, and its lowest annual total in the last five years. According to the paper, sources said that although the number of BTTB subscribers increased by 100,000 to over 1.1 million in the twelve months ended June 2006, its revenues continued on a downward spiral due fixed-mobile substitution, the widespread failure by the company to collect payments from customers and increasing popularity of IP-based telephony. Whilst much of the country’s VoIP market has been operating illegally, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) last month awarded 51 licences for VoIP operation in the private sector in an attempt to bring down the cost of international calling.

Meanwhile, BTTB officials reported that mobile phone use is the main reason behind the continual fall in the telco’s turnover. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that BTTB’s own cellular subsidiary, Teletalk, waited until March 2005 to launch nationwide GSM services, despite holding a licence since 1996; it had less than 2% of the subscriber market at the end of June 2006.

Bangladesh, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL),

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