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BTL faces stiff competition from Social Media

The Belize Telemedia Limited, held its annual general meeting last night in Belize City. Discussed during the meeting is the performance of the company for 2016-2017 fiscal year. CEO Rochus Schreiber spoke to the media.

Rochus Schreiber – CEO of BTL

“Well when you look at telecommunication companies there are several metrics that you have to look at. First is obviously the revenue, the second one which is very important which hasn’t been focused on is the net operating profit which went down a little bit to $20 million and then the third one is the cash flow. The cash flow remained very strong and it’s performing very well so the net income went down because of depreciation. Depreciation is basically the financial measure which is applied to the assets that we already have in the company and because many of them are old they are depreciating and that impact are BNL and has a negative impact on the net income however the underlying performance of the company the revenue and the outflows of expense on the operating cost remained very strong.”

One of the challenges that BTL is facing the decline of text messages usage.

Rochus Schreiber – CEO of BTL

“As the industry went through tremendous upheaval ten years ago in Belize, if a phone rang you knew with a hundred percent who was making money. There were two companies; it was either us or our competitor. Now ten years later, when you look at your phone during the day when you look at your log history you will see that most of your transactions are on whatsapp, Facebook, on twitter, on viber. You communicate using services which are provided by companies which are not in Belize. They don’t employ anyone in Belize, they don’t pay taxes in Belize, they don’t contribute to the social development of Belize and we have to compete in this environment and that is a very challenging situation. The behavior of our customers has changed. They communicate in a very different way so on one hand that looks difficult but on the other hand if you look at it from a different angle it’s a great opportunity because ten years ago with the technology and the business models we knew exactly who our customers are. It was three hundred fifty thousand people who are here in Belize and we knew exactly what we can sell them; minutes, sms and some data. That was it. Now the world has changed. Just like others can come in here and reach in with other services we can reach out. So there are three billion people who are out there in the world with smart phones. This will increase by another two billion in five years. The world itself is growing. There will be another two billion people on the planet over the next couple years plus you have all the smart phones, smart cars, and smart homes. All of these are communicating. All of these systems and points are using some services and all we need are clever persons in Belize who have access to tools, who have creativity, who have potential to create applications and services that can be used in London, in New York, In Europe, in Asia and that’s what we are here about, what we are building up these networks to give all Belizeans the access and opportunity to foster their creativity and develop and provide services that can be used globally and if we do that we will benefit.”