Optus adds 182K customers in quarter

Summary:Australia's number two telco Optus said it has posted a resilient third-quarter result where net profit rose 4 per cent and operating revenue increased 2 per cent.

Australia's number two telco Optus said it has posted a resilient third-quarter result where net profit rose 4 per cent and operating revenue increased 2 per cent.

Optus, a wholly-owned unit of Singapore Telecommunications, said net profit for the three months to 31 December came in at $177 million, up from $169 million in the prior corresponding period.

Operating revenue increased to $2.42 billion in the quarter, from $2.38 billion a year ago, SingTel said in a statement on Monday.

Optus chief executive Paul O'Sullivan said the company added 182,000 mobile customers in spite of the intensely competitive Australian telecommunications market.

Those new additions comprised 113,000 new post-paid customers and 69,000 prepaid customers, Optus said.

Telstra just released half-year results last week, saying that it had added 958,000 mobile customers (338,000 post-paid mobile customers and 436,000 mobile-broadband customers). In quarterly results also released last week, Vodafone revealed that its Australian business had lost 30,000 customers between October and 31 December 2011.

Optus said its mobile division reported a 3.5 per cent lift in operating revenue and a 2.5 per cent increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

The improved earnings was due to increased service revenue and lower subscriber acquisition costs associated with the introduction of new post-paid price plans on high value handsets in the third quarter.

Optus said its total mobile customer base, which is where the company generates about two thirds of its operating revenue, sat at 9.41 million at the end of December 2011. In total, Telstra now has 13.2 million mobile customers. Vodafone's total customer base sits at 3,362,000 customers.

Singapore Telecommunications re-affirmed earnings guidance for Optus.

Optus was expected to grow operating revenue and EBITDA in the low single digits in fiscal 2012, which ends on 31 March.

Capital expenditure was expected to come in at $1.2 billion and free cash flow was forecast to sit about $1 billion.

Josh Taylor contributed to this article.

Topics: Telcos, Optus, Telstra

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