SingTel ups mobile, data revenues

Singapore telco posts 3.3 percent net profit, driven by buoyant economic activity and demand for data and mobile communications.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--SingTel reported today double-digit growth in quarterly revenues, buoyed by several factors including strong economic conditions and growth in demand for corporate data services.

Speaking at a press briefing, SingTel Group CEO Chua Sock Koong said: "The Group posted its second consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth and continued to deliver healthy earnings growth. We are forging ahead in growth segments and are pursuing strategic initiatives to develop new revenue streams."

Compared to a year ago, group revenues grew 11 percent to S$3.7 billion (US$2.56 billion) for its latest fiscal quarter ended Sep. 30. Net profit increased to S$988 million (US$684 million), up 3.3 percent.

SingTel's data and Internet revenues hit S$343 million (US$237 million), up 9.3 percent from the previous quarter. SingTel said this was due in part to strong growth in demand for its corporate data services.

Mobile communications business revenue grew 13 percent year-on-year to S$322 million (US$223 million). The telco said it signed up 185,000 new mobile subscribers in the last quarter, increasing its share by 1.3 percent to command 40.3 percent of Singapore's overall market.

The IT and engineering division, one of SingTel's faster-growing businesses, saw a 30 percent year-on-year growth. The good showing was driven largely by higher hardware sales and systems integration projects mainly from outside Singapore. The percentage of overseas revenue from key markets--China, Australia, the Middle East and Hong Kong--has grown from 17 percent a year ago to 26 percent in the latest quarter.

According to SingTel, the strong economy resulted in higher international telephone traffic which, in turn, led to revenue increase of 3.4 percent to S$152 million (US$105 million).

SingTel noted a marginal 5.7 percent decline in fixed line revenue to S$108 million (US$78 million), as well as a continued decline in voice and dial-up usage due to increasing broadband usage, mobile substitution and competition.

The mio Plan, SingTel's IP-based services bundle comprising mobile, broadband and fixed-line services, is said to have garnered 42,000 subscribers as at Sep. 30, up 44 percent from the previous quarter.

SingTel's Singapore CEO, Allen Lew, told ZDNet Asia that mio revenue was "very small" this quarter, and does not expect it to be a significant revenue generator.

Lew told ZDNet Asia: "mio appeals to a segment of the market that wants the simplicity of it. But our research indicates that people prefer the independence of having separate plans for their varied services--about 30 to 35 percent of the market."

Launched in July, SingTel's pay-TV service is also "not expected to make a significant contribution to company revenues in the near future", the company noted. Some 10,000 customers are said to have signed up for mio TV as at Sep. 30.

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