From the introduction of next-generation LTE to extensive cost optimisation processes, BTC is championing change when it comes to connectivity
Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki
Much like the rest of Africa, Botswana’s telecommunications market is evolving rapidly.
As the rise of long-term evolution (LTE) technologies remains meteoric, and 2G and 3G continue to be replaced by their modernised successors in the form of 4G and even 5G, the country is beginning to leverage a host of new, transformative capabilities.
The crux of these is mobile connectivity, an industry that is anticipated to grow at roughly 12.3 percent per year and account for 79.3 percent of national telecom service revenue by 2023. Combine this with a whole host of associated branches such as the internet of things and cloud services, and it’s easy to see why Botswana is gearing up for a period of extensive, progressive change.
This in mind, it’s understandably exciting times for Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).
An organisation established almost four decades ago to provide, develop, operate and manage Botswana’s national and international telecommunications services, the now privatised entity stands front and centre of the industry, helping to facilitate the aforementioned ascendancy.
Providing both mobile data services in the form of its flagship beMOBILE brand, alongside its BTC Wholesale and BTC Fixed offerings, BTC remains a market leader in communications services, priding itself on upholding superior customer service through innovative solutions.
“We exhibit a sense of pride in the work we do and take accountability for the quality of our efforts and the organisation as a whole,” the company states on its website where it outlines its values statement. “We commit to the best customer experience through effective, efficient and agile service delivery within defined timeframes.”
Such traits are no better reflected than in the firm’s selection of mobile plans.
These come in the form of both prepaid and post-paid tariffs including its new TurnUp bundles, offering anywhere between 500 megabytes of data and five gigabytes of data, these two options costing P40 ($3.78) and P299 ($28.28) respectively.
Additionally, the company’s value-added mobile services are another defining feature of the beMOBILE brand.
These include Nshape, a service which allows subscribers to share airtime credit with friends and family; Ntshware, a free call back service; call barring, preventing certain calls such as international calls from being made; and CRBT, allowing users to suspend an in-progress call while accepting a second call.
Combined with the company’s extensive roaming footprint spanning anywhere from Canada to the UK to Australia, these are just some of BTC’s crucial differentiators, enabling it to remain at the forefront of the Botswanan telecommunications market.
The services in question have been crucial to the company’s recent rise, an upward trajectory that can largely be traced back to the integration of its three core service portfolios under one, united BTC brand in 2016.
Looking at the firm’s most recently available results figures for the financial year ended March 31, 2017, this is clear to see.
The company registered an impressive profit after tax of P237 million ($22.42 million), a 164 percent increase year-on-year, while its revenue also rose eight percent to P1.6 billion ($151 million), the jump in profit largely owed to a 26 percent fall in costs and 21 percent rise in data services revenue.
“I am delighted to report that this overall improvement in performance is a combination of both better business focus and improved operational efficiencies,” stated Lorato Boakgomo, BTC’s Board Chairperson, in the Annual Report. “Overall the company performed very well against the main strategic objectives of growing mobile market share and revenue, data and broadband revenue, optimising costs, and improving customer satisfaction levels.”
Moving forward, this sharp rise is not expected to be subject to much of a slowdown anytime soon, with the enterprise currently amid a three-year strategy focused on a new transformation and growth agenda in the short to medium term.
Centred around business growth, customer experience, operational efficiency, innovation and high-performance culture, the five-pronged blueprint is attempting to create a revitalised business environment, enabling the company to leverage and forge value adding strategic partnerships with both the public and private sector.
Such will be the latest chapter in BTC’s illustrious history, the organisation that was once the only telecommunications company in the country now standing as one of the Botswana Stock Exchange’s largest entities.