Listed Telecommunications giant, the Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Limited (BTCL) kicked off a program to mark its 40th Anniversary as Botswana’s leading and pioneering technology and telecommunications company enabling the socio-economic development of Botswana.
Managing Director (MD) Anthony Masunga said BTCL has made great strides from offering analogue microwave links to fixed telephony to become a converged telecommunications operator offering fixed (voice and data), mobile (voice and data) and broadband services.
He said BTCL in partnership with the Government embarked on the Nteletsa project to bring telecommunications services to previously underserved areas. Masunga said Phase two of the project which commenced in 2008 established Kitsong Centres (Internet Cafes) in 148 villages, as part of a rural telecommunications programme to bridge the digital divide.
In 2008, BTC launched its mobile service following the liberalisation of the industry awarding network operators service neutral licences. Masunga said the mobile phone operator grew and expanded to cover almost 90 percent of the population.
In 2016, the listing of BTC on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), was a watershed moment in economic inclusion, bringing more than 50,000 Batswana into BTC ownership, the broadest shareholding of any company in Botswana according to Masunga.
He also said from providing rotary dial phones and operating manual telephone exchanges in 1980, BTC has now completed a digitalisation journey that started almost two decades ago.
“The company has evolved to partner with Government as the Nation transitions to knowledge- based economy. We state in our purpose that ‘we exist to provide superior digital solutions to our people to enable them to live connected’. Our team of over 1000 people are exceedingly proud of our track record spanning 40 years. We are looking forward tcelebrating a unique milestone of four decades with our customers and communities across the length and breadth of this country,” said Masunga.
He said at BTCL, they have transformed the business beyond telecommunications and broadband solutions, into all forms of digital and ICT solutions. In 2019, BTCL commissioned the Sentlhaga Data Centre, the only local Uptime Tier Two Certified Data Centre in Botswana housing local and international content such as Facebook, YouTube Google and Classmate.
Masunga said they take the bold view that speeding up digital transformation is critical to helping the local economy bounce back from the debilitating effects of COVID-19.
BTC has launched a programme to reinvigorate BTC’s internal culture and customer experience to drive a positive trajectory into the future. “We are putting in place measures to offer excellent quality service to all our stakeholders; offering exciting products and services while giving back millions in prizes through various promotions such as our Hawkers Challenge, Recharge & Win and many more,” said the BTC MD.
BTC was established in 1980 by an Act of Parliament to operate and manage Botswana’s national and international telecommunications services. Before then, telecommunications services were provided by the Department of Post and Telecommunications.