L ao Telecommunications Com-pany (LTC) is spending billions of kip on building 23 additional service centres nationwide this year.
Faculty of Engineering Dean Prof. Dr Boualinh Soysouvanh ( right ) and Mr Phoukhong Chithoublok release balloons to launch the service centre.
“Each centre will cost 400 million to 600 million kip,” LTC Deputy Director General Phoukhong Chithoublok said on Friday.
“So far we have built six centres and started service operation,” Mr Phoukhong said at the opening of the 29th service centre at the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Laos (NUOL).
Currently the company has 13 centres in Vientiane, including six newly opened facilities in the districts of Xaythany, Sisattanak and Chanthabouly.
The service centre at the Faculty of Engineering cost about 470 million kip, with construction starting at the end of last year. Friday's opening ceremony followed the launch of the 28th service centre on Thursday, also at NUOL, at a cost of more than 635 million kip.
The centres are targeting the university's 6,000 students and 300 teachers and administrators. The student population is increasing each year, and there is a growing demand for information technology.
The centres not only provide telephone and payment services but also Internet access, which will enable students to access a wide range of information.
LTC Director General Thongsay Sanexaya reported at LTC's annual meeting recently that the company would invest about 155.4 billion kip (US$19.34 million) in services development and network expansion this year.
Developments will include expansion of mobile phone services with an additional 271 base stations, Internet, installation of transmission lines and fixed line facilities.
Last year LTC invested over 223 billion kip (US$27.7 million) in its network.
LTC hopes to attract a minimum of 400,000 new mobile phone customers this year, adding to its current 1.5 million customers.
The company currently has over 1,500 base stations, including 288 3G stations, rising from 900 mobile phone base stations and 58 3G stations in 2009.
LTC 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.
LTC has grown rapidly in recent years from just 100,000 subscribers in 2002. Laos's other three telecom companies are Enterprise Telecommunications Lao, Star Telecom and the Millicom Lao Company.