Spark New Zealand raised its capex budget for its current fiscal year to speed its 5G rollout, targeting 90 per cent population coverage by the end of calendar 2023.
In an earnings statement, CEO Jolie Hodson explained it committed an additional NZD35 million ($24.2 million) to 5G, boosting total mobile network investment in fiscal 2022 (the year to end-June 2022) to around NZD125 million. She noted the target assumes the government will release the necessary spectrum.
The operator launched 5G wireless broadband and mobile services in nine locations, including Auckland.
It forecasts capex excluding spectrum fees to increase 13 per cent to NZD400 million in fiscal 2022, after rising 5.3 per cent in fiscal 2021.
Mobile service revenue is predicted to grow by 2 per cent to 4 per cent.
Net profit dropped 8.6 per cent year-on-year to NZD384 million, primarily due to higher depreciation and amortisation costs along with a NZD21 million increase in tax.
Revenue was flat at NZD3.6 billion, with positives for its mobile, and cloud, security and service management businesses offset by a decline in roaming revenue. The operator professed disciplined cost and capital management mitigated the majority of that decline.
Mobile service revenue was flat at NZD852 million despite the loss of NZD38 million in international roaming. Mobile connections declined 3.9 per cent to 2.4 million on a 13.2 per cent drop in prepaid to 1 million. Total ARPU increased 2.9 per cent to NZD29.08.
It ended June with 450 million devices connected to its IoT networks, up 83 per cent.