Bhutan Telecom records 9.86% profit growth after tax

Bhutan Telecom Limited (BTL) saw a revenue growth of Nu 3.6bn and a profit after tax of Nu 0.92bnn last year, according to the BTL annual report.

A growth of 12.56% in revenue and 9.86% in profit after tax was recorded as compared to 2017. Most of the revenue was generated as service revenue from mobile, internet, landline and sale of products.

BTL reduced mobile data tariffs by an average of 19% for various data plans last year to drive digital transformation in the country, said Chief Executive Officer, Bhutan Telecom, Karma Jurme.

In addition, he said the cellular internet price, 0.97% of the gross national income per capita has been kept lower to International Telecommunication Union threshold to maintain the cellular internet price below 5%.

Similarly, the data center tariffs were reduced by 42%, and leased line internet tariffs by a maximum of 43.75%, last year.

“Increasing demand from customers to reduce tariffs at par with some operators in large countries continues to be a major challenge,” said Karma Jurme. He assured that BTL will look at means to reduce the tariffs in future.

BTL is working towards reducing the cost of leased line services to maintain the profitability, by negotiating rates with international circuit providers and also reducing the cost of operations within the organization.

The other challenges the company faces is retaining skilled employees in the organization as they leave for better opportunities both within and outside the country.

With the implementation of the three-year human resource plan, BT is hopeful that it would chart the way for the company to develop a proper succession plan and overall human resource capacity.

The company also deployed B-Ngul (Mobile Financial Service) to help achieve the nation’s goal of financial inclusion by taking financial services to the unbanked population of the country, said Karma Jurme.

The company contributed Nu 450mn in the form of corporate income tax and declared a dividend of 862.62mn.

The company invested Nu. 552.76mnincluding for enhancing mobile network coverage mostly in rural parts of the country. Net worth of the company stands at Nu. 3.757bn as of December 31, last year.

BTL plans to pilot Crypto Currency Mining in close coordination with Royal Monetary Authority and BT TV service this year to keep nation abreast with all technological advancements around the globe.

BTL had 396, 502 active mobile customers in 2018 compared to 390, 335 in 2017. The fixed line customers increased from 21,364 in 2017 to 22, 015 in 2018.

Leased line internet subscriptions increased from 598 in 2017 to 772 last year. The company had 8, 846 fixed broadband internet subscriptions in 2018.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu