Singapore operator StarHub recorded sharp declines in profit and mobile revenue in the first quarter, as measures to control the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak slowed subscriber growth, roaming usage and equipment sales.

CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos said its Q1 results reflect the impact of the pandemic and the early softening of the economic environment: “With border controls and movement restrictions, roaming and prepaid revenues have significantly reduced.”

Net profit dropped 25.7 per cent year-on-year to SGD40.2 million ($28.3 million). Revenue fell 15.2 per cent to SDG506.2 million due to double-digit declines in its mobile, pay-TV and broadband units; while the enterprise business grew 13.9 per cent after cybersecurity services revenue more than doubled.

Mobile revenue declined 15 per cent to SGD163.5 million, hit by increased price competition resulting in declines in post-paid and prepaid ARPU, lower roaming and prepaid additions. Equipment sales dropped 33.6 per cent to SGD101.3 million as fewer premium handsets were sold due to retail store closures and supply disruption.

Falling ARPU
Post-paid subcsribers rose 1.9 per cent to 1.47 million, while prepaid fell 11 per cent to 704,000. Post-paid ARPU fell 12.6 per cent to SGD34 and prepaid slipped 15.4 per cent to SGD11.

Average monthly data usage increase to 10.6GB from 6.3GB at end-March 2019.

Capex fell SGD10.4 million to SGD35 million, representing 6.9 per cent of total revenue.

The operator predicted the Covid-19 crisis to have a material impact on full year numbers, with revenue declines for most business segments. It withdrew its guidance for 2020, pledging to update shareholders once it has greater visibility.