SingTel eyes feature phone ad market

update Southeast Asia's largest telco targeting mobile ad market for feature phones; reveals 30 percent rise in fourth quarter net profit to S$1.29 billion (US$1.03 billion) on higher contributions from associates.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

update SINGAPORE--SingTel, Southeast Asia's largest telco, is eyeing more opportunities in the mobile advertising space especially that for feature phones developing markets. This was revealed as it announced a 30 percent rise in fourth quarter net profit at S$1.29 billion (US$1.03 billion), on the back of a 3 percent rise in revenue for the period ended March 2012.

In a media briefing, SingTel Group CEO Chua Sock Koong said the results were partly driven by better contributions from regional associates.

 "It was a challenging quarter but we kept focused on executing our strategy and met the guidance we had set out. The regional mobile associates turned in marked improvements in their operating and financial performance," she noted.

A large boost came from an exceptional net tax credit of S$270 million (US$216 million) on an increase in value of assets transferred to an associate. Excluding exceptional gains, the telco's underlying net profit was up 2.5 percent to S$1.02 billion (US$816.2 million).

"We continue to review opportunities to increase our stakes in the associates and may make strategic investments to gain important capabilities, drive growth in adjacent industries and extend the group's customer relationships," added Chua.

Eye on mobile advertising opportunities
The results comes just two days after the company's acquisition of AdJitsu, a Silicon Valley startup in the mobile advertising space. This was through its U.S. unit Amobee--also a mobile advertising company--which it acquired in March for US$321 million.

Allen Lew, country chief office for Singapore at SingTel, said at the briefing: "Amobee is very important to us because we believe in the potential of mobile advertising."

Currently only about 5 percent of global advertising revenue goes to the mobile segment, but this is expected to grow supported by developing markets, according to Lew.

"For many of these people in emerging markets, the only way advertisers have access to them is through mobilephones," he pointed out, referring to how people in such countries were more likely to own handsets than own television sets or consume media through other forms.

Lew added that SingTel would be making "more of a move" toward feature phones and in the emerging markets. "There is a huge opportunity for us not just in developed markets but in developing markets, we are putting a lot of focus into that," he said.


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