BTCL mobile revenues on the rise but Fixed faces bleak future

Although beMOBILE was a late addition to Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) stable, the mobile sales is the biggest contributor towards revenue for the listed telecommunications group. A research note on the company by brokerage firm, Motswedi Securities showed that beMOBILE has been successful in eating away some of the market share from Mascom and Orange.

This point is buttressed in BTCL full year financial results for the year ended 31 March 2017 that showed a 9% growth in sales driven by growth in fixed, mobile and data sales. Mobile revenues increased by 5% and are the biggest contributor to total revenue at 37%, followed by Fixed Telephony Revenues at 32% and Data services revenue at 29%.

Motswedi Securities said going forward they expect the contribution of Fixed telephony to gradually decline in the future in preference of mobile phones which offers more convenience.

“Mobile sales is the biggest contributor towards revenue at 37%, followed by Fixed 32%, Data 29% and ‘Others’ 2%,” said Motswedi note. However, the researchers noted it is surprising to see revenue from Fixed increasing amidst indications that demand for fixed telephony may continue to decline in the future as consumers prefer mobile phones which offers more convenience such as mobility, internet on the go, email etc.

“In fact the number of fixed telephone lines decreased by 13% between March 2016 and March 2017, therefore the increased in revenue from fixed is more attributed to increased usage, mostly by corporates and government entities,” it added.

“We however, expect revenue from fixed to grow at a small space before declining in the coming years as fixed line business is on a decline on a global scale.” This business is being substituted by the use of internet and internet applications e.g OTT’s. On the flip side this decline can be slowed through the introduction of value adds e.g Broadband offers, promotions and loyalty offers, Motswedi said.

BTCL growth strategy is centred on leveraging its fixed, mobile and convergent products and services potential. The strategy is intended to leverage on BTCL’s unique market position as the only fixed and mobile network operator in Botswana by creating competitive advantages through the provision of traditional fixed and mobile broadband, information and content capabilities.

In terms of mobile subscriptions, Mascom Wireless remained the leader at 53% followed by Orange at 32% and BTCL (BeMobile) at 15%. (This is now up to 17% according to latest revelations from BTCL management). BeMobile has been successful in eating away some of the market share from Mascom and Orange.

Over the past 10 years, mobile telephony subscriptions have increased from 1,151,761 in March 2007 to 3,460,331 in March 2016, representing a 200% increase, compared to 314% increase attained in the previous decade.