Indonesian operator Bakrie Telecom (BTel) has set out its stall to sign up a net one million new customers in 2014, despite its rising level of debt and the indifferent consumer appeal of its code division multiple access (CDMA) business. BTel president Jastiro Abi says that the carrier aims to add to its existing twelve million subscriber base by promoting its Esia brand with ‘direct marketing to customers through, for instance, mobile road shows’. The official went on to say that the company will stick with its core CDMA business, despite the fact that it is currently losing out to more popular GSM operators, while simultaneously exploring options to enter the over-the-top (OTT) services business.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BTel posted a net profit of IDR201.7 billion (USD17.34 million) for the three months ended 31 March 2014, reversing a net loss of IDR97.5 billion for the year earlier period. In FY 2013 the operator managed to reduce its net loss by IDR490 billion to IDR2.65 trillion, despite foreign exchange losses of IDR1.89 trillion. Full year (gross) revenues last year reached IDR2.43 trillion, down 18.1% year-on-year, even though its subscriber base climbed 3.3% to 12.042 million. The carrier had total liabilities of IDR9.83 trillion in the first quarter of this year, down 3% from the IDR10.13 trillion of liabilities in the same period last year. BTel’s long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default rating has been downgraded by Fitch Ratings to restricted default (RD) from C (highly vulnerable), after it defaulted on paying coupons in November 2013 and May 2014 on its USD380 million May 2015 bond, according to The Jakarta Post.