Dtac reported a significant loss in the closing quarter of 2018 due to a THB9.51 billion ($301 million) settlement with CAT Telecom and continued declines in revenue and subscribers.
The operator posted a net loss of THB4.94 billion during the quarter compared with a THB542 million profit in Q4 2017. Service revenue dropped 5.9 per cent year-on-year to THB15.3 billion; handset sales tumbled 29 per cent to THB2.17 billion.
Dtac stated: “Service revenue remained under pressure due to intense competition in the market, while uncertainties regarding concession expiry impacted customers’ confidence during the transition period.” Late in 2018 dtac shifted to a spectrum licensing regime from a concessionary setup involving state-owned CAT Telecom.
The operator’s mobile subscriber base fell 6.4 per cent year-on-year to 21.2 million at end-December, with prepaid dropping 9.9 per cent to 15.13 million and paid post rising 13.7 per cent to 6.07 million. Prepaid ARPU slipped 6.2 per cent to THB142, while the post paid figure dipped 3.7 per cent to THB556.
Dtac said 2018 capex rose 18 per cent to THB19.5 billion and was on the high side of its guidance as it accelerated its 4G buildout. It installed 12,700 base stations covering the 2300MHz band, with a further 7,900 sites in 2100MHz.
In 2018 the operator acquired 10MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band and 10MHz in the 900MHz band, and forged a partnership with TOT, which it said “dissipated” uncertainties regarding the concession expiry.
It expects to return to growth in 2019 with a “continued focus on operational efficiency”. Capex is forecast to decline to between THB13 billion and THB15 billion.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back