Thai mobile operator True reported a sharp fall in its net profit in the opening three months of 2017 due to increased network capex and costs related to spectrum purchases, but strong data growth fuelled a double-digit revenue gain.
The operator reported a net loss to shareholders of the parent company of THB1.15 billion ($33.3 million) in Q1, a year-on-year drop of 20 per cent. It attributed the decline to higher costs related to upgrading its cellular and fixed broadband networks as well as a 47 per cent jump in depreciation and amortisation expenses on spectrum purchases.
Consolidated revenue grew 11.9 per cent year-on-year to THB32.5 billion, which True said was due to significant subscriber growth and increased demand for its wired and wireless broadband services.
A 16.4 per cent increase in service turnover to THB28.8 billion was driven by 24.3 per cent growth in its cellular business and a 14 per cent increase in consumer broadband revenue. Equipment sales during the quarter fell 14 per cent to THB3.69 billion
Non-voice revenue grew 34 per cent from a year ago to THB10 billion, representing 61 per cent of cellular service turnover. Voice revenue increased 7.2 per cent to THB5.3 billion, while international roaming increased 38.8 per cent year-on-year to THB1 billion.
Strong sub growth
True added 1.2 million mobile subscribers in the first quarter, which it credited to its aggressive 4G and device-bundling campaigns. The increase pushed it ahead of rival dtac to the number two position, with a 25.8 per cent market share.
Over the last year, its mobile subscriber base increased by 5.4 million to 25.8 million, with prepaid additions accounting for most of the gain.
Blended mobile ARPU fell 3.7 per cent year-on-year to THB207 ($6.00) in Q1. Post paid ARPU was stable at THB500, while prepaid ARPU fell 5.8 per cent to THB114.
The operator added 114,000 broadband subscribers during the quarter to take its total to 2.9 million, with ARPU decreasing 10 per cent year-on-year to THB600. Its paid-TV customer base grew to more than 4 million at the end of Q1 after picking up more than 151,000 quarterly net adds, with ARPU falling 24 per cent to THB317.