Lao Telecommunications, one of Laos' major cell phone service providers, announced yesterday it would try its best to maintain market share of at least 40 percent this year amid growing business competition.
Director General of the Lao-Thai joint venture, Mr Thongsay Sanexaya, made the announcement at the company's annual meeting in Vientiane to review business operations in 2011 and the expansion plan for 2012.
Mr Thongsay said Lao Telecom expects to gain 100,000 more subscribers in 2012, of whom 92,000 will be cell phone users and the rest will rent fixed telephone lines. This would see the operator secure a market share of at least 40 percent.
At the end of 2011, Lao Telecom had 1.2 million cell phone subscribers, 52,000 fixed line subscribers and 15,000 internet subscribers. The number of cell phone subscribers fell from 1.5 million in 2010 due to stronger competition. In 2010, the company held a 49 percent share of the cell phone market.
According to a report from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, there are 5.6 million telephone subscribers in Laos, out of the total population of about 6.2 million.
Mr Thongsay said the company expected to earn net profit of 119 billion kip in 2012, an increase of 79 percent compared to 2011, thanks to the favourable business environment.
All telecom operators in Laos have agreed to set a minimum cell phone call rate of 800 kip per minute, up from 400 kip per minute, which will enable them to generate more revenue from the growing telecom market.
Operators will be able to offer their cell phone customers special promotion rates only on special occasions. But under the revised telecom agreement, the promotion period should not exceed one week.
According to a press release from Lao Telecom, the company is targeting revenue of about 914 billion kip in 2012, an increase of 13 percent compared to 2011.
In 2010, Lao Telecom earned 733 billion kip, a drop of 17 percent on 2009 due to strong business competition.
The operator said it expects to pay the government 206 billion kip in taxes and dividends this year, about 44 percent more than last year.
To achieve its revenue target, Lao Telecom plans to invest about 100 billion kip (US$12 million) in its business infrastructure. In 2011, the company ploughed US$13.26 million into expansion, amounting to 116 percent of the plan.
Lao Telecom has also entered into an international roaming service agreement with 41 companies.