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Bakrie Telecom’s Layoff Breaks the Company’s Own Vow

Amir Karimuddin - 13 March 2015

The confirmation on the layoffs made by Bakrie Telecom (BTEL) couple of days ago was contradictory with one of its Directors’ statement made right after the company’s collaboration with Smartfren just four months ago. This indicates the poor financial state experienced by BTEL which finally gave them no other choice but to have a layoff toward its employees. This maneuver was expected to reduce the number of employees to less than 1000.

As being delivered within the confirmation, BTEL’s President Director Jastiro Abi stated that his team has planned to fire 300-400 employees. The layoff is going to be done in the second quarter of this year. At the moment, BTEL hires 1300 employees. Abi, as being cited from the same source, said, “The business must grow. The industry is mature enough, thus we need to find a way out to keep healthy, to survive.”

Ever since the beginning of the collaboration, we have always been skeptical that BTEL won’t fire any of its employees. Four months ago, BTEL’s Director of Compliance and Risk Management Harya Mitra Hidayat, whom we contacted, stated that BTEL, back then, was in an efficient position to work within a collaboration (with Smartfren). They needed a proper team to ensure that the collaboration run smooth.

Furthermore, although BTEL does no longer have its own cellular network, Hidayat ensured that his team required a sufficient technical team to welcome the future government-supported technology, including the implementation of neutral technology at 850 MHz frequency.

Apparently, the dream has been ended.

With no personal network, BTEL is no longer a tech company. It’s ‘only’ a marketer of telecommunication services that utilizes someone else’s infrastructure. Now, technical-related matters are BTEL’s “new burden”. We do expect that the engineers that get fired will find a new better home immediately.

According to the latest data at the Indonesia Stock Market, BTEL noted nearly Rp 2,3 trillion-worth loss in 2014. The company still also fights in the court due to its failure in paying its $380 million-worth debt (more than five trillion Rupiah) off to foreign creditor.

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