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Celcom has 13.3 million subscribers, 70% of its smartphones users on Android

At its 1st quarter 2014 financial briefing on Wednesday, Celcom Axiata Berhad said that its “continuous segmental acquisition drive to strengthen its connection with its customers” has resulted in the 2% increase of its subscriber base to 13.3 million.

Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (right) announcing the Q1 2014 financial results to the media with Christopher Tiffin, Chief Financial Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (left) and Jennifer Wong Chui Fen, Deputy Chief Financial Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (centre).

Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (right) announcing the Q1 2014 financial results to the media with Christopher Tiffin, Chief Financial Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (left) and Jennifer Wong Chui Fen, Deputy Chief Financial Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (centre).

As of Q1 2014, the Telco has 10,363 (million) prepaid subscribers and 2,926 (million) postpaid subscribers. Average revenue per user (ARPU) for postpaid is at RM85 while prepaid is at RM35. Broadband subscriber is about 1, 228 (million).

More users are upgrading from voice plan to voice+data plan and Celcom says that a large number of its users outside Klang Valley are upgrading to smartphone. The increasing trend in data usage adoption has accelerated the uptake of smart devices on Celcom’s network. About 35% or 4.65 million of its customers are smartphone users, 70% of these smartphone users are using Android. The mobile operator revealed that it currently detects 465,000 LTE devices in the network and some 265,000 of those are on Celcom LTE plans.

In terms of network, Celcom said its LTE roll-out is progressing well and the aim to deploy 2,014 active 4G LTE sites nationwide by year-end. To-date, Celcom has deployed 1,093 LTE sites with 809 sites currently operational. 1,200 LTE sites are targeted by the end of Q2 this year. It has also wired up more than 400 shopping malls nationwide with Celcom WiFi.

Celcom says it is working closely with its partners to strengthen its network optimisation programme to improve its overall network performance. This includes reducing the number of dropped calls and enhancing its network coverage. Celcom initiated the programme with a focus on Sabah and Sarawak, and has expanded the initiative to the Klang Valley and the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.  It has completed projects in key and highly populated areas including Iskandar Malaysia and Penang, and will deploy new sites at identified locations to ensure seamless connectivity along 21 highways.

Internally, as part of its “transformation programme”, Celcom is restructuring its management team and the announcement will be made next week.

For the first quarter and year to date (YTD) of 2014, Celcom achieved a revenue of RM1.91 billion. The results were due to lower Universal Service Provision (USP) revenue and the festive season which led to lower device sales.

Service revenue however increased slightly to RM1.81 billion, with the growth in data largely cushioning the reduction in traditional voice and SMS services.

Overall data revenue grew by 16% (y-o-y) to RM368million contributing to 19.3% of total revenue compared to 16% the previous year. Mobile internet revenue recorded the highest growth therein at 39.5% (y-o-y) to RM156 million. Data traffic also registered a strong 57% growth, driven by the availability of smart devices as well as faster network and popular applications.

Celcom’s quarterly and YTD EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) is at RM839 million, and a stable EBITDA margin of 44%. Meanwhile, Celcom’s quarterly and YTD PATAMI (profits after tax, amortisation and minority interests) increased 0.2% to RM515 million despite the one-off tax reversal in the previous quarter and lower tax incentives going forward.

The telco’s total CAPEX of RM950 million this year is expected to provide better network quality and improved data performance for its customers. Out of the total CAPEX amount, RM400 million has been allocated for 4G LTE deployment.

Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom said “At Celcom, we always put customers at the centre of everything we do and it is crucial for us to undertake measures that will significantly help us to meet our customers’ needs and enhance customer experience. We are optimistic of realising our goals as we remain focused on our transformation initiative and strongly committed to develop an effective customer-centric approach and improving our business performance.”

“Technology, innovation, people and processes are essential to enable us to transform customer experience and provide unique and interesting offerings to our customers. We are determined to bring all our resources and putting together the right infrastructure, people and culture to drive our transformation agenda to fulfill our customers’ needs and achieve our customer experience goals,” Dato’ Sri Shazalli added.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy