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Celcom lost 897k prepaid subscribers in 2Q16, positive growth for postpaid

Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), the parent company of Celcom Axiata Bhd announced its Quarter 2, 2016 (2Q16) financial results today. As of the second quarter of 2016, Celcom Axiata’s mobile subscriber base are lower by 841k, at 11.23 million. It had 12.08 million in 1Q16.

celcom-mobile-subscribers-2Q16

There are 8.34 million prepaid subscribers in 2Q16 (vs 9.24 million in 1Q16). The Telco lost 897k prepaid subscribers in the quarter. According to Axiata, prepaid subscriber base declined 9.7% QoQ due to competition and delay in the launch of new products.

As for postpaid, there are now 2.9 million subscribers. Celcom added 57k new postpaid subscribers, including some 37k on the First Gold 80 postpaid plan.

Prepaid and postpaid ARPU are at RM29 and RM76 respectively, both unchanged as per the previous quarter.

Smartphone penetration in the network are now higher at 66% in 2Q16 compared to 62% in 1Q16.

In a statement, Axiata Group said that the 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 had to be temporarily halted due to customer complaints.

Celcom’s YoY 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 amortisation) 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.

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,”

Total revenue for the Axiata Group grew by 5.4% to RM5.0 billion YoY while EBITDA was up by 7.7% to RM1.9 billion mainly from the easing of expenses. EBITDA margin at 37.4% was its highest in the last seven quarters contributed mainly by XL, Dialog and Smart.

PATAMI was at RM368 million, impacted by higher net finance costs and increased depreciation costs arising from growth driven capital expenditure as well as lower contribution from indirectly held associates.

About Kugan

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