StarHub leans on enterprise segment for higher revenue

StarHub has reported a total half-year net profit of SG$127 million on revenue of SG$1.2 billion, with mobile and pay TV dropping off, broadband remaining stagnant, and enterprise fixed rising.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Singaporean telecommunications carrier StarHub has revealed its enterprise fixed revenue jumping by 40 percent for the half year ended June 30 to a total of SG$240 million thanks to its cybersecurity-focused acquisitions of Accel and D'Crypt.

While enterprise voice services dropped by 29 percent to SG$16 million and enterprise data and internet stayed stable at SG$147 million, StarHub's enterprise managed services rose by 148 percent to SG$76.9 million.

"Revenue growth from the enterprise segment was driven by customer acquisitions, growth in data usage and fixed services, and higher demand for managed services and cybersecurity solutions," new StarHub CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos explained.

StarHub reported a total half-year net profit of SG$127 million, down 18.5 percent from SG$155.8 million, on revenue that remained relatively stable, up SG$1.6 million to SG$1.2 billion.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the six-month period were down 8.3 percent to SG$309.4 million, with operating expenditure reaching SG$992.9 million, up 3.8 percent.

Besides enterprise, the only other segment to increase during the half was sales of equipment, which was up by 7.2 percent to SG$245 million, primarily due to sales of smart home devices.

StarHub's mobile business brought in SG$416.5 million in revenue, down 7.3 percent year on year after losing 9,000 post-paid customers and 23,000 prepaid customers during the year. As of June 30, StarHub had 1.376 million post-paid customers and 882,000 prepaid customers for a total of 2.3 million mobile customers and a Singaporean mobile market share of 27 percent.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) dropped from SG$48 to SG$44 per month for post-paid, and from SG$15 to SG$13 for prepaid during the year, also contributing to the drop-off in mobile revenue.

The company likewise lost 39,000 customers across its pay TV offering during the year, although ARPU increased from SG$51 to SG$52 per month due to FIFA World Cup subscriptions. It had a total of 438,000 pay TV customers as of June 30, with the business bringing in SG$165.4 million in revenue, down 13.2 percent.

Broadband remained stable during the half, at SG$93 million, despite adding 4,000 residential broadband customers to a total base of 371,000, and adding 20,000 fibre broadband customers for a total base of 393,000. Broadband ARPU stayed stable, at SG$32 per month.

Service revenue was down by 5.5 percent to SG$915 million.

"The increasingly competitive environment for consumer services and combination of OTT services continue to impact revenue from services such as mobile and pay TV," Kaliaropoulos said.

"Winning our fair share of the market for connectivity services, improving and delivering consistent customer experience across all customer segments, leveraging our data analytics capabilities, and delivering innovative solutions predominantly in managed services such as cybersecurity and robotics are important to our growth."

Kaliaropoulos also pointed to StarHub's incoming 5G network, saying work on its 5G pilot is "under way to explore new enterprise solutions".

"StarHub has clocked Singapore's fastest 3G and 4G speeds, according to OpenSignal. Notwithstanding this success, we know exploring innovation in 5G services is also crucial," he added.

During the quarter, StarHub activated what it called the "first commercially ready" gigabit-speed LTE mobile network in Singapore, as well as enabling narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) capabilities.

Its 1Gbps 4G network is available across Marina Bay, the CBD, and high-traffic shopping, transport, and town centre areas, such as Bedok, Bishan, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Clementi, Orchard Road, and Tampines. StarHub said it would continue expanding it to additional areas in a staged rollout "based on network traffic insights".

According to StarHub, the network upgrade also enables IoT connectivity, with the carrier signing a multi-year agreement with Nokia for the networking giant to continually upgrade its network using small cells, virtualised core and IP routing, and advanced radio access technologies.

Nokia will also provide network management, security, IoT, cloud orchestration and signalling, self-organising network, and session border controller software.

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