Bakrie Telecom users close to 3 million

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

PT Bakrie Telecom (Btel) -- the operator of CDMA brand Esia and wireless telecommunications services Wifone and Wimode -- reported a 118.7 percent increase in third quarter net profit from a year earlier on the back of increasing numbers of subscribers.

A 126.6 percent rise in the number of the firm's customers means that its subscriber base reached 2.95 million as of September compared with the same period last year, pushing up revenue by 98 percent to Rp 848.8 billion from the Rp 426.9 billion booked a year earlier.

This contributed to an increase in the company's net profit from Rp 51.9 billion in September last year to Rp 113.5 billion.

"Based on our current operational and financial achievements, followed by a significant rise in subscribers, we are confident of reaching a total of 3.7 million subscribers by the end of the year.

"That would be a higher projection compared to our initial target of 3.6 million customers," president director Anindya Bakrie said in a statement Tuesday.

To achieve the target, Anindya said the company would expand its service network nationally to cover 17 cities by the end of 2007.

Its network coverage is currently available in seven cities, including Surabaya, Malang, Medan and Padang.

Financial director Jastiro Abi attributed the growth in subscriber numbers mainly to the company's newly introduced Esia Lucky Starter Package, a recent bundling cooperation venture with Chinese cellular vendor Huawei and Korean electronics brand LG.

The bundling package, which allows customers to purchase a phone and CDMA SIM card for only Rp 199.000 before tax, has generated much interest among the public.

"Our recent net profit accruement is quite good by our standards, considering that just two years ago we reported a Rp 144.3 billion loss," Jastiro said. (09)
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