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Celcom Axiata subscriber base down to 12.3 million in 4Q15

Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), the parent company of Celcom Axiata Bhd announced its Quarter 4, 2015 (4Q15) financial results last week. As of 2015, Celcom Axiata has 12.3 million (12,250 million) subscribers.

Celcom-axiata-Logo-white

The Telco lost some 260k prepaid subscribers in Q4. As of 4Q15, Celcom has 9.4 million prepaid subscribers (9,447 million) down from 9.7 million (9,707 million) it had in 3Q15.

As for postpaid, Celcom has 2.8 million subscribers (2,803 million). It added about 1k new postpaid subscribers in 4Q15.

Prepaid ARPU is at RM31 compared to RM32 in the previous quarter while postpaid ARPU is higher by RM1 at RM85.

In terms of voice usage, Celcom postpaid subscribers consumed an average 300 minutes while prepaid subscribers consumed an average 151 minutes in Q4.

Smartphone penetration in the network is unchanged at 59%, same as the previous quarter.

Celcom’s overall recovery was hampered by a flat growth market, Axiata said. Despite this, Celcom recorded its first positive revenue growth since a year ago, increasing by 1.0% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) mainly due to higher sales of devices. Service revenue, however, saw a decline of 2.5% primarily as a result of lower voice revenue. Its 4Q15 normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and normalised profit after taxation and minority interests (PATAMI) grew 9.8% and 10.2% QoQ respectively. PATAMI was impacted by one-off expense RM32 million and start-up losses of RM71 million in new ventures.

On a full year basis, Celcom’s revenue, normalised EBITDA and normalised PATAMI was down 5.1%, 7.7%, and 13.5%, respectively. PATAMI was impacted by one-off expense RM53 million and start-up losses of RM71 million in new ventures. FY15 service revenue declined by 6.8% year-on-year (YoY) primarily due to heightened competition. Both mobile data revenue and mobile internet revenue grew 20.7% and 48.0% respectively.

For the financial year ended 31 December 2015 (FY15), revenue for the Axiata Group rose by 6.3% to an all-time high of RM19.9 billion whilst EBITDA grew by 4.1% to RM7.3 billion with an EBITDA margin of 36.6%. Correspondingly, PATAMI was up by 8.0% to record its highest at RM2.6 billion.

Going into 2016, Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata said, “As smartphone penetration continues to dominate consumer demands, data and investment in data infrastructure remains a priority in driving significant data growth across all our markets. We hope to see a stronger recovery at Celcom. We are also confident XL’s transformation agenda will show further traction during the year.

In 2016, Axiata expects continued and heightened competition in Malaysia, Bangladesh and Cambodia. Other regulatory and market challenges remain, include pricing and fee structure uncertainties as a result of spectrum reallocation in Malaysia, it said.

Axiata declared a final dividend under a single tier system of 85% dividend payout ratio and 20 sen dividend per ordinary share of RM1 each in Axiata, which includes interim dividend of 8 sen per share paid in 2015.

About Kugan

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