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Celcom subscriber base drops further to 12.08 million in 1Q16

Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), the parent company of Celcom Axiata Bhd announced its Quarter 1, 2016 (1Q16) financial results late last month. As of first quarter of 2016, Celcom Axiata has 12.08 million subscribers.

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The Telco lost some 212k prepaid subscribers in the quarter. As of 1Q16, Celcom has 9.24 million prepaid subscribers down from 9.45 million it had in 4Q15.

However, the Telco added more postpaid subscribers in the quarter. Celcom has 2.84 million postpaid subscribers as of 1Q16. It added 37,000 new postpaid customers.

Postpaid ARPU was at RM76, down from RM85 in 4Q15, while prepaid ARPU was also lower at RM29, down from RM31 in 4Q15.

In terms of voice usage, Celcom postpaid subscribers consumed an average 305 minutes while prepaid subscribers consumed an average 142 minutes in Q1 2016.

About 62% of Celcom subscribers are now smartphone users, up from 59% in 4Q15.

According to the Axiata Group, first quarter of 2016 remained challenging for Celcom due to heightened competition particularly in the postpaid and overseas foreign workers (OFW) segments, as well as the impact of the new regulation on value added services (VAS) where almost all VAS (Value Added Services) had to be temporarily halted due to customer complaints. Celcom’s YoY (Year-on-Year) revenue was affected by the drop in VAS by 19.8% and voice which was reduced by 16.4%.

On a YoY basis, Celcom’s first quarter revenue, normalised EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) and normalised PATAMI (profit after taxation and minority interests) dipped 13.4%, 12.3% and 22.3% respectively whilst normalised EBITDA margin improved 0.5 percentage points to 40.7% on the back of lower direct expenses.

Axiata added that postpaid segment for Celcom showed positive traction with the launch of First Gold 80 in February, adding 37,000 new subscribers by end of the quarter. Mobile data revenue and mobile Internet revenue for the quarter grew by 14.8% and 35.4% YoY respectively. Stabilization of Celcom’s IT system has boosted trade confidence and enabled more aggressive product and services launches.

Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata said “Celcom has been aggressively rolling out more LTE sites and a number of competitive and exciting data products and services over the last two months. I am confident with these initiatives in place, Celcom will be back on track to finish the year respectably.”

Last week, Celcom announced a major network modernisation exercise starting in Klang Valley that will take place over a period of 4 months. In phases, over 4,600 communication tower sites nationwide will be modernised to the latest 4G technology, equipment and software.

About Kugan

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