The Australian telecommunications market is in bloom with both Optus and AAPT posting increased profits in their October-December financial results.
Optus in particular demonstrated the strength of the Australian market, showing an improvement in figures, while its parent company SingTel showed a decrease in revenue.
"Optus is tracking well in terms of its full year guidance," said Optus chief executive Chris Anderson. "There were revenue growth, margin expansion and increases in market share for all divisions."
"Driven by stronger operating performance, free cash flow continued to improve," said Anderson. "Free cash flow for the quarter was AU$210 million, up 47 percent, compared to AU$143 million for the same period last year," he said.
Optus recorded operating revenue of AU$1.657 billion for the October-December quarter last year, an increase of 14 percent compared to the same period in 2002. The majority of this revenue came from Optus' mobile phone division, which pulled in AU$915 million in revenue, an increase of 18 percent.
Optus increased its mobile subscriber base to 5.4 million customers, an increase of 18 percent, which represented 35 percent of market share. Even more pleasing for the telco was an eight percent increase in post-paid average revenue per user.
AAPT, the local arm of Telecom New Zealand, also posted an increase in revenues in October-December. Australian consumer revenues for the company rose 3.9 percent to AU$158 million in the second quarter of the financial year, compared to the first quarter. This included AAPT's residential and small business fixed line operations, Internet, and AAPT Mobile.
"In Australia we continue to operate on a cash flow positive basis - around NZ$100 million on an annualised basis," said Telecom chairman Roderick Deane. "Revenue in Australia is stable - we have been investing in sales capability and advertising to support our strategy of targeted growth in the business and consumer markets. Cash flow and EBITDA year on year and quarter on quarter remained on track."
AAPT revenue for the half year was AU$351 million while expenses were AU$295 million.