AIS gains as industry phases out unlimited data plans - Mobile World Live

AIS gains as industry phases out unlimited data plans

06 AUG 2019

AIS, the largest mobile operator in Thailand, reported solid growth in mobile revenue and subscribers in the second quarter, as a decline in price competition led to a welcome rise in blended ARPU.

The operator’s net profit fell 3.5 per cent year-on-year in the quarter to THB7.7 billion ($250 million) due to higher depreciation and amortisation costs for its 4G and fibre network expansions, and 1800MHz licence acquired in September 2018. Total revenue increased 5.8 per cent to THB38.2 billion.

Mobile turnover in Q2 grew 5.3 per cent to THB32.9 billion, driven by a 1.8 per cent year-on-year increase in blended ARPU to THB263. Prepaid and post-paid ARPU were up 4.6 per cent and 1.2 per cent sequentially, respectively. Device sales rose 9 per cent from Q2 2018 to THB6.45 billion.

In a statement, the market leader said price competition eased with operators gradually discontinuing fixed-speed unlimited data plans for new subscribers as well as raising prices for existing subscribers. AIS, however, said with the majority of fixed-speed subscriptions signed up in the second half of 2018, the full migration from unlimited data plans to volume-based tariffs won’t be completed until H2 2019.

Subscriber gains
Its mobile subscriber base rose 3.4 per cent from Q2 2018 to 41.5 million at end-June. Prepaid subs were up 1.2 per cent to 32.7 million, while post-paid subs rose 12.4 per cent to 8.79 million.

LTE penetration increased to 66 per cent at end-June from 54 per cent a year earlier.

The operator said average data usage, at 11.5GB per subscriber per month at end-June, rose marginally sequentially following the elimination of the unlimited data offerings. Average data usage was up 29 per cent year-on-year.

Capex for the first half of the year was well below the budgeted THB13.3 billion, with the full year guidance remaining at THB20 billion to THB25 billion, AIS said, adding its focus is on 4G capacity expansion using 5G-compatible equipment.

For the full year, it forecast mid-single digit growth of core service revenue, which excludes interconnection and equipment rental income.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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