By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Local telecom operator CTM plans to invest MOP1 billion in the next three years into the construction of 4G mobile phone network and home fiber-optic broadband network in Macau.
In addition, the company reported MOP741 million profits after tax in 2009, a five percent increase from the preceding year.
CTM held a media lunch gathering yesterday in Grand Hyatt Hotel where CEO Vandy Poon announced the 2009 financial results.
As of December 31, 2009, CTM’s gross revenue was at MOP2.436 billion, which remained steady with that of 2008.
In addition, profit for the reporting period was MOP741 million after tax, grew five percent or MOP35 million when comparing to the year before.
“This significant result is attributable to the benefits brought about by the economic rebound since the third quarter of 2009, and the resurrection of the construction projects in the territory,” a company newsletter said.
Also in 2009, CTM invested MOP229 million mainly on network expansions of the mobile and Internet services, including optimization of mobile broadband facilities, installation of fiber-optic networks as well as the development of automated support systems.
As for the coming three years, the company’s estimated capex (capital expenditure) investment will be around MOP1 billion. Projects lining up on the agenda include to upgrade the mobile network to 4G and the local and international network capacity, and also to build a home fiber-optic broadband network.
Besides the revenue growth, the telecom operator reported a 19 percent increase to 523,431 mobile phone customers in 2009. The company also saw a five-fold increase in its 3G customers which accounted for 70 percent of its total mobile customer base.
Vandy Poon told reporters he believed that the era in which all people are 3G users is “just around the corner”.
As for Internet customers, CTM reported a three percent year-on-year growth to nearly 128,000, contributing to a household penetration rate of 70 percent in Macau, one of the highest in the world.
Data and leased line services, Vandy Poon said, also achieved “satisfactory growth”.
Hence, in 2009 CTM was able to maintain its market share of 50 percent in Macau, the same as in the preceding year.
According to the CEO 2010 is a “pivotal point to set up new goals and clear vision”.
He said that a mobile broadband service with speed up to 21Mbps is expected to be launched before this summer and the installation of a fiber-optic network will be completed by mid-2010 in order to deliver residential broadband service up to 100Mbps.
He also said that CTM is eager to expand its business portfolio to multimedia and “triple play” services in the year ahead.
“Triple play” refers to the provisioning of two bandwidth-intensive services, high-speed Internet access and television, and a less bandwidth-demanding (but more latency-sensitive) service, telephone, over a single broadband connection.
In addition, it is expected that in the beginning of the second half of 2010, the telecom operator will launch a brand new customer service website for people to apply services, make inquiries as well as to pay bills.
Vandy Poon said other key development plans for 2010 include enhancing customer service quality for both the hotline and front-line service at shops.
Furthermore, charges of leased phone lines may be reduced in the future as CTM has been in talks with the government regarding the proposal.
CTM email boxes, the CEO added, will very shortly increase the capacity as well.
The SAR government has decided to fully liberalise Macau’s public telecommunication market in 2011, but Vandy Poon said his company welcomes new competitors and believes competition will bring advantages and more affordable prices to residents and tourists.
“After liberalisation, CTM will strive to maintain our position in the market through gaining recognition from citizens and satisfaction from staff… And I’ve complete confidence in achieving that,” he said.