Telecom Lead Asia: SingTel’s CEO Chua Sock Koong says it is seeing stability in Indian telecom market as its associate Bharti Airtel has begun to remove discounts on its mobile services.
Recently, Mobile service providers — Bharti Airtel and Vodafone – have increased 2G data rates by up to 30 percent in 2013. Rivals are expected to take similar steps to cover costs and improve margins. Airtel revised its 1GB 2G data plan from Rs 100 to Rs 125. India’s largest telecom operator also increased mobile voice rates recently.
She said Airtel’s decision to remove some discounts will be positive for average revenue per user or ARPU trend.
In Q3 2012-13, Airtel’s blended ARPU touched Rs 185 ($3.4) per month from India and SE Asia operators. Voice ARPU was Rs 153 and voice realization was 35.2 paisa per minute. Revenue from mobile services from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka grew 7 percent to Rs 109,364 million.
SingTel, which has 30 percent stake in Airtel, on Thursday said its revenue fell 5 percent to S$4.60 billion. SingTel has recorded 8 percent decline in net profit to S$827 million.
Net profit declined due to exceptional charges from the restructuring of its Australian unit Optus, weaker foreign currencies, and poorer results from Philippine and Indian associates.
SingTel expects to offer 4G / LTE services across Singapore by the end of March.
SingTel will continue to invest in networks and adopt transformational initiatives to drive longer-term growth.
SingTel’s Singapore revenues grew 1 percent to S$1.70 billion driven by contributions from its new digital services and continued strength of its mobile and ICT businesses. Revenue from mobile communications increased 3 percent to S$507 million as SingTel added 63,000 mobile customers in the quarter, resulting into market share of 46.6 percent as at 31 December 2012.
In Australia, Optus is restructuring the business to drive profitable growth, improve customer experience and capitalize on the growing demand for mobile data. Optus’ operating revenue declined 6 percent to A$2.28 billion, while cost efficiencies lifted EBITDA to A$576 million.
The Group’s regional mobile associates, in particular Telkomsel and AIS, recorded robust growth, which were partially offset by lower earnings from Airtel and the weaker regional currencies. Pre-tax earnings grew 1 percent to S$455 million and would have increased 11 percent if exchange rates were unchanged from a year ago.
The Group had 473 million mobile customers, an increase of 39.2 million or 9 percent from a year ago.