Mon, 17 Mar 2008
From: The Jakarta Post
By Agustina Wayansari , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta
PT Bakrie Telecom, the publicly listed telecom behind CDMA mobile phone brand Esia, saw its subscriber base increase 147 percent last year.

Bakrie has 3.82 million subscribers and aims for almost twice that many by year end.

At the end of 2006, it had 1.55 million customers, finance director Jastiro Abi said last Friday.

"We will focus on strengthening our network in major cities all over the country to achieve seven million customers by the end of this year."

He said this target was in line with the company's medium-term goal of 14 million subscribers by 2011.

Last year's rapid growth pushed net profits up by 98.5 percent, from Rp 71.7 billion to Rp 144.3 billion, on the back of a 60 percent plus increase in revenue.

To achieve this year's subscriber target, the company would build 1,000 new base transceiver systems to add to the 1,200 it has built in 34 major cities. Jastiro added that 80 percent of the new systems would be subject to tower-sharing cooperation with other providers.

The network expansion project is estimated to account for some 63 percent of the company's pledged investment this year which is has been set at US$232 million. It has set aside $600 million for investment over the next through 2010.

Commenting on a a recent rates war involving both GSM and CDMA-based operators fighting for customers, Jastiro said "CDMA-based phone service is cheaper (than GSM-based) to start with.

"Our pricing scheme remains the same as when we launched the service in Sept. 2005.

"We'll focus on improving our services and aren't thinking about cutting prices because they are already low."

At present, Flexi dominates CDMA-based phone service with around 16 million subscribers.



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