Bakrie to spend USD200m in 2009 to boost subscriber take-up
Indonesian wireless operator Bakrie Telecom, which offers low-cost mobile services under the brand name Esia, plans to increase its subscriber base by 50% to 10.5 million this year, Dow Jones Newswires reports. To help achieve this goal, the operator intends to invest USD200 million this year and claims to be close to securing funding for its overall USD400 million CAPEX plan for 2009/10. Bakrie Telecom is looking to push its cut-rate cellular services during the difficult economic climate, believing people will be keen to sign up to its offers in the downturn. At the end of 2008 the Esia brand CDMA service had 7.3 million customers, up from 3.7 million a year earlier. Bakrie Telecom reported net revenues of IDR2.2 trillion (USD192.3 million) for 2008, up 70.7% year-on-year on the back of solid subscriber growth. EBITDA improved 50.9% to IDR822.8 billion, while net income declined 5.2 to IDR136.8 billion due to forex losses. The company expanded its footprint to a further nine cities in the fourth quarter of 2008, taking the total to 64 at year-end.