Australia’s largest mobile operator Telstra reported a 5.8 per cent drop in its net income for the fiscal year ending 30 June due to the impact of the sale of Hong Kong mobile operator CSL in May 2014.
Its net profit fell to AUD4.3 billion ($3.09 billion), while overall revenue increased 1.2 per cent to AUD26.6 billion.
It was its first full financial year operating without CSL. “Excluding CSL operating results, our total income was up 6.6 per cent and EBITDA was up 4.5 per cent,” said CEO Andrew Penn.
The operator posted strong results across all business segments, with its retail business (covering consumer and business) up 5.3 per cent, global enterprise growing 7.9 per cent and wholesale expanding 11.1 per cent. The wholesale increase was due to rising NBN infrastructure receipts after the completion of the transit network.
Mobile led the company-wide growth, expanding 10.2 per cent to AUD10.6 billion. Service revenue grew 7.2 per cent – its fastest in three years. Postpaid revenue was up 7.7 per cent to AUD5.39 billion, while prepaid revenue advanced 13.1 per cent to AUD994 million.
Telstra, with a 52 per cent share of Australia’s mobile market, saw its mobile customer base rise 4.1 per cent to 16.7 million. Both postpaid and prepaid ARPU were up year-on-year by 4.4 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.
The company said its mobile handheld businesses showed slower growth in H1 than H2 due to a fall in excess data rates and higher data allowances.
Its fixed voice business was down 7.1 per cent to AUD3.7 billion, while fixed data increased 7.3 per cent to AUD2.37 billion.
Its capex for the year fell 2 per cent to AUD3.5 billion, with a 13.9 per cent capex/sales ratio. EBITDA fell 3.5 per cent to AUD10.7 billion, again due to the sale of CSL.
The board increased the final dividend 3.3 per cent to 15.5 cents per share, bringing the total dividend for fiscal 2015 to 30.5 cents per share and distributing AUD3.7 billion to shareholders.
Its guidance for fiscal 2016 forecasts revenue to grow in the mid single-digit range and EBITDA to increase by a low single-digit figure.
In the next two years Telstra plans to grow its 4G population coverage from 94 per cent to 99 per cent, via the rollout of more than 750 new base stations (taking its total to over 9,000).
It is also promising to deploy “next-gen LTE technology, including Voice over LTE, LTE Broadcast and next stage LTE Advanced delivering peak network speeds of up to 600 Mb/s.”