Singtel reported a record profit in its fiscal Q2 ending 30 September, with solid gains in operating revenue in its consumer and enterprise groups, but home market Singapore faced continued weakness in mobile.

The company’s net profit in the quarter jumped nearly 200 per cent from a year ago to SGD2.89 billion ($2.12 billion), with the gain due mostly to the company divesting a 75 per cent stake in NetLink Trust.

Operating revenue grew 6.9 per cent to SGD4.37 billion, with its consumer business revenue up 2.3 per cent to SGD2.39 billion and its business group turnover increasing 5.5 per cent to SGD1.7 billion. Its digital life business doubled to SGD277 milion.

Mobile revenue increased 3.1 per cent during the quarter to SGD1.5 billion, while data and internet turnover rose 2.7 per cent to SGD875 million. Equipment sales fell 13.5 per cent to SGD378 million.

Profit contributions from its mobile associates fell on lower earnings at Bharti Airtel with the impact from continued disruptive price competition in India.

Singtel CEO Chua Sock Koong said digital and ICT services now account for 25 per cent of revenue, reflecting positive momentum in its digital transformation.

Weak handset sales
Consumer revenue in Singapore fell 2.1 per cent to SGD564 million, which the company attributed to a 4.4 per cent drop in equipment sales, which was partially offset by higher home service sales. Mobile communications revenue declined 2.8 per cent to SGD317 million on lower voice and roaming revenues as well as an increase in demand for SIM-only plans. The timing of smartphone launches also impacted re-contracting volumes, the operator said.

It added 170,000 4G subscribers over the past year to end September with 2.66 million. Total mobile subs dropped slightly to 4.1 million. Blended ARPU fell 4.3 per cent to SGD45.

Growth in Australia
Operating revenue at its Australian subsisdary Optus fell 1 per cent year-on-year in the quarter to AUD1.7 billion ($1.33 billion) due to a 20.4 per cent drop in equipment sales to AUD265 million. Mobile service revenue increased 2.1 per cent AUD919 million.

Blended mobile and post paid ARPU were both stable at AUD46 and AUD34 respectively. Its Australian mobile user base rose 4.4 per cent year-on-year to 8.8 million, with LTE subs increasing 15 per cent to 6.1 million.

The company said 4G coverage now reaches 96.5 per cent of the population, with 6,382 sites upgraded to LTE.

The pre-tax profit contribution from Airtel dropped 51.8 per cent to SGD83 million. Telkomsel in Indonesia was stable, with a contribution of SGD371 million, as was Globe Telecom in the Philippines at SGD59 million. Thailand’s AIS increased its contribution 15.5 per cent to SGD83 million.