Says voice call segment was heavily impacted by lockdowns
The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) quoted telecommunications giant, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC), has reported revenue of P712 million for the half-year ended 30 September 2020, which is a 1 percent decline on the P719 million of the same period last year.
According to BTC board chairperson Lorato Boakgomo-Ntakhwana and Managing Director Anthony Masunga, the major contributor to the decline was the fixed voice call segment, which was heavily impacted by the two months of lockdown at the onset of BTC’s new reporting period. “Increasing migration of customers to lower priced data service streams over fixed and mobile networks also contributed to revenue decline,” the two wrote in the telco’s abridged unaudited interim financial results released recently.
Both fixed data and mobile data contributed an increasing proportion of the total revenue. “With the growing and changing needs of the digital business during this half-year of reporting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies increased the demand for data products which are faster and give real time solutions for employees working from homes,” they say.
BTC’s profit after tax also declined, going down by 8 percent to P77 million, compared to the same period last year. “The decline in profitability was due to a rise in support costs which were impacted by unfavourable currency movements, trade receivables impairment, as well as (a) significant increase in depreciation,” says Boakgomo-Ntakhwana and Masunga.
On the brighter side, gross profit was level with that of the prior year at P418 million. BTC says this was driven by lower costs of sales resulting from reduction in costs associated with voice revenue that declined during this reporting period.
Meanwhile, the two Boakgomo-Ntakhwana and Masunga say as the world continues to go digital, BTC’s recent investments in fixed and mobile broadband puts the company in a pole position for the next phase of growth by differentiation through reliability, high speed and coverage, laying a foundation for the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“BTC has invested in robust data networks that support high speed Internet services at home and in the office across most parts of the country,” they wrote in the report. “We continue with our expansion of our fibre network to replace the traditional copper network, which is prone to increasing large scale theft, leading to interruption of services.”
They note that BTC investment in fibre has improved the resilience and capacity of their network, ensuring that their customers enjoy improved quality of service. “We have invested in a wide area high speed 4.5G mobile broadband network through which we offer high speed mobile data services,” they say. “This network also allows us to offer high speed home and office internet services to areas beyond our fixed network infrastructure.”
BTC is a converged telecommunications operator offering fixed (voice and data), mobile (voice and data) and broadband services to consumers, enterprises and other licensed service providers.