HKT, Hong Kong’s largest mobile operator, experienced a 5 per cent drop in revenue for the first six months of the year, with a 42 per cent decline in mobile handset sales dragging down mobile turnover by 11 per cent.
Total revenue for the January to June period fell to HKD15.6 billion ($2 billion), and telecoms service revenue was flat year-on-year at HKD10.3 billion.
Mobile revenue fell to HKD5.6 billion, with mobile device sales dropping to HKD1.03 billion from HKD1.77 billion at end H1 2016, and mobile service revenue inching up 1 per cent to HKD4.6 billion.
HKT, with a 36 per cent market share, attributed the sharp handset decline to the “absence of marquee handsets” during the period.
While the operator did not name vendors, the statement could be a reference to Apple, which recently cited an ongoing slump in iPhone sales in Hong Kong as a contributory factor in a 10 per cent year-on-year decline in sales in the greater China area as a whole in the three months to 1 July.
HKT’s H1 revenue performance mirrored its full year 2016 results, when it also blamed a lack of marquee devices for a drop in handset sales. The 33 per cent decline more than offset a 5 per cent increase in mobile service revenue, resulting in overall mobile revenue falling 9 per cent year-on-year to HKD13.1 billion.
Net profit attributable to shareholders of the company increased 3 per cent to HKD2.39 billion in H1 2017.
The operator’s mobile user base declined 5 per cent year-on-year to 4.22 million at end-June, with post paid users increasing 2 per cent to 3.1 million and prepaid subs falling 22 per cent to 1.05 million. The company said the decline in prepaid numbers was a result of it reducing its focus on certain low-margin prepaid segments.
Post paid ARPU edged up by HKD2 from a year ago to HKD230.