Major telecoms operator Lao Telecommunication Company (LTC) has announced that it plans to spend about 120 billion kip (US$15 million) on network extension and service development this year.
Mr Thongsay Sanexaya ( fifth right ) and Miss Laos 2011 pose with LTC's largest dealers.
“We will install almost 200 new base stations,” company Director General Mr Thongsay Sanexaya said at a ceremony to reward its main dealers on Thursday.
LTC currently has over 1,400 base stations.
The network development will include the extension of core network systems which will make provision of 4G services possible in the near future. The company currently only offers 3G services.
“We plan to launch 4G services by the end of this year, around the same time as the ASEM meeting,” Mr Thongsay said.
Developments will also include internet speed upgrade. At present LTC's internet speed is only 14 megabytes per second. “By the end of April, we will have to have about 42 megabytes per second,” he said.
The company also aims to improve services at customer service centres and dealers, to ensure that services are up to speed in rural areas.
LTC now has over 500 dealers nationwide and the number increases every year. “But this number is not enough given the demand out there; customer numbers are increasing,” Mr Thongsay said. “We will continue expanding service centres and dealers in response to this situation.”
The company now has over 50 main service centres in Vientiane and the provinces. “We plan to have in place an additional 22 service centres nationwide soon,” he said.
LTC now has more than 1.2 million registered customers. “However, there are about 1.6 million people using the company's services if you include unregistered customers,” Mr Thongsay said.
The company was established as a joint venture in 1996, with the Lao government holding a 51 percent share and Shenington Investments Private Company of Thailand holding 49 percent, for a pre-defined 25-year term.
Laos' other three telecom companies are Enterprise Telecommunications Lao, Star Telecom and VimpelCom Lao Co Ltd.