BTCL, Vodafone to engage in new talks

08 Oct 2017

Local telco company, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) together with its European counterpart, Vodafone, will soon jointly evaluate their existing partnership and decide on the way forward.

The three year partnership agreement between BTC and Vodafone which was signed in 2015 comes to an end in April 2018.

At the time of the signing of the expiring agreement, BTCL explained that it has partnered with Vodafone to boost its strategic plan, which is premised on fixed and mobile and convergence (FMC) transformation.

Vodafone is a British company that is hailed as one of the world’s largest mobile operators. The company has a presence in 29 countries with equity interest as well as 53 partner networks or cooperation agreements worldwide. It is now the second largest Fixed Network Operator in UK.

Briefing the media at the time, the then BTCL Managing Director Paul Taylor said the corporation will benefit from access to Vodafone’s best practice and will be able to enhance its customer proposition in Botswana by using Vodafone’s products and services. He added that Vodafone’s multinational corporate customers will benefit from the addition of Botswana to their existing contracts for international managed services, while continuing to be serviced via a single point of contact.

“This strategic partnership with BTCL for Botswana will enable both companies to expand their presence in Africa and extend the reach of their products and services across the region. It will also deliver enhanced roaming benefits to our clients,” Taylor stated then.

Taylor said BTCL was optimistic that entering into a non-equity strategic partnership with a global player of Vodafone’s standing will prove to be profitable for the company.

“The partnership will allow us to better differentiate against competition, deliver innovative communications solutions for the benefit of our customers and visitors to Botswana. Vodafone, on the other hand, will leverage on BTCL extensive network coverage, ” said Taylor.

Meanwhile the BTCL has admitted to the unsatisfactory quality of internet service to the residential and SMMES sectors, which still remains a challenge to the teleco company.

In 2017, BTCL set aside P452 million for capital expenditure geared towards improving the BTC network, through improved operational performance, and commissioning of next generation networks such as LTE/4G. Currently BTC has 600 2G sites, 149 3G sites and 106 4G sites, with more 4G sites to be commissioned in the 2017-18 financial year, further densifying access.

“We are focused on cost efficiency and continue to explore cost reduction opportunities. Our cost structure is expected to continue to improve over the coming years, as we keep on transforming the way we do business,” said

He stated that data remains their fastest growing revenue line, adding data sales increased by 21 percent and contributed 29 percent to total sales. He believes that the company still needs to transform on many fronts such as network, culture and commercial outlook.

He further stated in the report that BTC has applied for migration to new licensing framework under the Unified Licensing Framework. He said migration deadline for the new framework has been extended to the 2017-2018 financial year. Masunga added that the development further liberalised the market, presenting entry opportunities for other players in the sector.

“The BOCRA study on the extent of implications of Over-the-top (OTT) services on the business operations of all operators has been completed and the outcomes are still to be shared with the sector,” he stated.