LAO Telecom, the country’s leading telecommunications operator, plans to invest US$50 million this year to continue improving and expanding the telecommunications system for better services.
The company will expand the number of mobile base stations around the country to more than 6,000, of which 125 will be 4.5G, with the aim of achieving its target of Lao Digital Life in the next three years, director general of Lao Telecom, Thavone Somsakoun said at the company’s annual meeting in Vientiane. It also planned to list Lao Telecom Public Company in an initial public offering (IPO) this year, he said.
The company will try to increase its customer base to 3.4 million subscribers in order to earn revenues of about 1,985 billion kip, an increase of 7.7 per cent compared to 2017, Thavone said.
The company expects its net profit to increase by 7.5 per cent or 408.7 billion kip and it will present 568 billion kip in obligations to the government, which will cover 30 per cent of the company’s total income in 2018, he added.
Last year, the company invested US$82.8 million to expand its telecommunications system, especially Internet mobile broadband and fixed broadband, he noted.
The company currently has 5,711 2G, 3G, 4G and 4.5G mobile base stations with signal coverage extending to 8,500 villages in 148 districts of 18 provinces.
The 2G signals cover 59 per cent of total villages, 3G signals 38 per cent and 4G signals 10 per cent, while 4.5G covers five per cent of all capitals.
The company’s growth has become the driving factor to further expand its customer base and better serve its existing customers, Thavone said.
Currently, there are 1.6 million mobile subscribers, 40,000 landline phone users, 430,000 2G customers and 1.5 million Internet card users, he said.
In 2017, the company earned around 1,843 billion kip, an increase of 1.8 per cent compared to 2016. The net profit touched 381 billion kip and it paid 535 billion kip as its obligation to the government, or 34.7 per cent of total income.
The company also improved its regulations and social insurance policy in order to improve the lives of its staff and provided more than 1.2 billion in social assistance.
On the occasion, Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Thansamay Kommasith congratulated the company for its continued growth through the first-rate leadership and cooperation of all the staff.
He advised management and staff to continue efforts in formulating detailed plans and clearly implementing its programmes.
He also stressed for the company to strive for continuing improved to ensure the telecom sector contributes to socio-economic development.