MobileOne: 3G adoption to improve

The Singapore telco attracted only 5,400 3G customers as of last month, but its CEO is confident this number will grow with the launch of improved handsets.

SINGAPORE--As of end-June, MobileOne (M1) has only attracted 5,400 customers to sign up for its third-generation (3G) mobile phone service, according to the company's top official.

However, Neil Montefiore, CEO of M1, expects the take-up rate of 3G services to increase by the end of this year when improved 3G mobile phones are available in the market. The current 3G handsets, he added, appeals primarily to early adopters.

Speaking at the company's announcement of its financial results for the first half of this year, Montefiore said the target is to have around 1 to 2 percent of its total subscribers hooked up to 3G by the end of 2005.

M1 registered a net after-tax profit of S$80.2 million (US$47.5 million) for the first half of this year.

The telco is not expecting significant revenue contributions from 3G services this year. "Net profit margin remains under pressure as we are incurring 3G network operating costs...while 3G revenue will not have meaningful impact in fiscal year 2005," Montefiore said in a separate media statement.

Currently, M1 has more than 1.2 million subscribers in Singapore, after an increase of 47,000 customers during the second quarter of this year. A majority of new subscribers, Montefiore said, were pre-paid customers who signed up for the company's M Card.

On wireless broadband access (WBA), Montefiore said M1 is now reviewing options on how it will deliver wireless broadband services. For example, it will decide whether to offer WBA services island-wide or within limited geographical areas in the country, he added.