HKT’s long-serving MD Alex Arena announced the day after the Hong Kong-based operator released its interim results for 2018 he will retire at the end of the month.
Arena, who will also step down as an executive director, will be replaced by current group CFO Susanna Hui (pictured, right). Arena helmed the business for nearly seven years and was a member of the senior management team for 20 years.
HKT, the largest mobile operator in the territory by subscribers, reported a 12.7 per cent year-on-year drop in its net profit for the six-month period to 30 June. Earnings fell to HKD1.87 billion ($238 million) from HKD2.14 billion in H1 2017.
Total revenue increased 12 per cent year-on-year to HKD17 billion, driven by a 99 per cent jump in mobile equipment sales to HKD3.37 billion. Mobile service revenue inched up 1 per cent to HKD3.84 billion.
HKT said mobile service revenue benefitted from continued growth in its post paid customer base (up 2 per cent year-on-year to 3.24 million) and higher revenue from mobile enterprise solutions. These gains more than offset declines in IDD and roaming revenue, and ongoing price disruption in the market.
“We will continue to meet the increasing customer demand for high-speed and reliable connectivity on both advanced mobile and fixed, fibre networks as we continue to research, trial and deploy future technologies such as 5G. Despite intense market competition, we are confident HKT can continue to build on its scale and strengths.”
Prepaid subscriber numbers declined 6 per cent year-on-year to 990,000 at end-June.
Post paid ARPU dipped to HKD195 at end-June from HKD198 at the same point of 2017.
Capex in H1 2018 rose marginally to HKD1.34 billion, with the capex to revenue ratio falling to 7.9 per cent from 8.8 per cent in H1 2017. Mobile network investment dropped nearly 5 per cent, reflecting the efficiencies achieved following the integration of CSL (which it acquired in 2016), the operator said.