Malaysia-based Digi predicted its full year revenue would decline as the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and intense competition weigh on both its top-line and profitability, though it noted some positives in June as it released Q2 figures.

CEO Albern Murty said activities gradually returned to normal last month, with a recovery in data revenue growth. He explained the operator’s proactive business continuity efforts position it well to drive continued operational resilience in the second half.

However, the operator said it could continue to face subscriber acquisition headwinds, with the pandemic causing uncertainty around Malaysia’s economic outlook and recovery, along with growing industry competition.

In Q2, it noted widescale retail closures across the country impacted its acquisition activities.

Net profit decreased 26.5 per cent year-on-year to MYR288 million ($67.4 million), with service revenue falling 6.1 per cent to MYR1.32 billion.

The Telenor-owned operator attributed the decline to a 64 per cent drop in roaming revenue and lower voice usage due to lockdown measures, along with the provision of 1GB of free connectivity a day to customers, which fuelled a 50.7 per cent jump in data usage.

Average monthly data usage climbed from 11.4GB in 2Q 2019 to 18GB.

Acquisition challenges
While its post-paid user base grew 3.6 per cent to 3.03 million, prepaid slipped 10 per cent to 7.59 million: ARPU stood at MYR68 (down 2.9 per cent) and MYR29 (flat) resepectively.

Capex was down 13.5 per cent to MYR225 million, with LTE-A population coverage increasing from 70 per cent to 74 per cent.

Its 2020 guidance forecast service revenue and EBITDA to decline by low and medium single-digit rates respectively, and capex to remain at the 2019 level.