Singapore operator StarHub recorded sharp declines in profit and revenue in Q3 due to a double-digit fall in post-paid ARPU and the loss of a third of its prepaid subscriber base, as global Covid-19 (coronavirus) restrictions slowed tourist arrivals.
Net profit dipped 23.3 per cent year-on-year in the July to September quarter to SGD44.5 million ($33.1 million), with total revenue falling 14.5 per cent to SGD489.7 million.
In a statement, CFO Dennis Chia tried to put a positive spin on the Q3 results, noting it continued to record a decline in operating expenses as it seeks to run its businesses in a more cost-efficient manner.
“We look forward to the 5G standalone (SA) network rollout planned for 4Q and will continue our disciplined approach to capital management,” he added.
The operator claimed its non-standalone (NSA) 5G coverage reached 70 per cent of the island at the end of Q3 and is in the process of deploying SA core and transmission networks to connect its 5G base stations being rolled out. In August, it started NSA trials using the 2.1GHz band.
Mobile turnover plunged 29.4 per cent to SGD134.1 as post-paid ARPU fell 25.6 per cent to SGD29 and prepaid ARPU slumped 7.7 per cent to SGD12. StarHub said post-paid revenue was hit by drops in IDD and roaming usage, excess data fees and value-added services revenue.
Sales of equipment were down 26.8 per cent to SGD100.9 million, which the operator attributed to the impact of Covid-19 lockdown measures and the delay in the launch of new premium handset models.
Post-paid subscribers inched up 0.8 per cent year-on-year to 1.45 million; prepaid subs plummeted 33 per cent to 526,000 due to a drop in tourists.
Average data usage per subscriber increased to 11.4GB per month at end-September from 8.8GB a year earlier.
Its pay-TV business also posted heavy loses, declining 16 per cent to SGD47.1 in the quarter. Broadband revenue rose 5.5 per cent to SGD45.5 million, while enterprise services increased 11.4 per cent to SGD162 million.
Capex for the first nine months of 2020 was down 48.8 per cent from the same period in 2019 at SGD110.5 million, representing 7.6 per cent of total revenue.
The company expects to maintain its full-year 2020 guidance issued in August, which forecast service revenue to decline 10 per cent to 12 per cent year-on-year.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back