Celcom Axiata Bhd announced its Quarter 1, 2017 (1Q17, January-March 2017) financial results on Tuesday.
The Telco revealed that it now has 10.25 million mobile subscribers, down from 10.56 million subscribers it had as of December 2016. It lost 310k subscribers between January 2017 and March 2017. Celcom said “This was a contraction primarily from its prepaid segment in an overall depressed market. The decline was also affected by limited brand visibility and distribution challenges, which are being addressed.”
As for prepaid, Celcom has 7.3 million subscribers, down from 7.6 million subscribers it had as of December 2016. It lost 296k subscribers in the latest quarter.
There are now 2.95 million postpaid subscribers as of Q1, 2017. Despite the Telco lost 14k postpaid subscribers, it said that take up on First Gold 80 and First Platinum have been “encouraging and this contributed to higher ARPU”.
In 1Q17, the ARPU for Postpaid was RM81 (RM80 in 4Q16) and RM30 for prepaid (RM31 in 4Q16).
Some 63.1% Celcom subscribers are data users, consuming an average 5GB a month. About 77% of its subscribers are smartphone users. Celcom said its 4G LTE population coverage now stands at 77%, up 1% from 4Q16.
The Telco said it will continue to aggressively invest in network upgrades to support the exponential growth in data consumption and to deliver high service reliability, expanded 4G coverage and improve quality of its data services. This includes a roadmap to test 700 Mbps throughput technology by mid-2018 and LTE Advanced Pro (Standard 4.5G with 1 Gbps throughput), by mid- 2019.
For the quarter under review, the Telco’s overall data revenue surged 29.8% YoY to RM661 million, contributing 41% to the company’s total revenue. Total revenue stood at RM1.609 billion for the quarter, decreased by 2.2% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ).
The company recorded a quarterly service revenue of RM1.475 billion, with a seasonal dip of 3.1% QoQ, amidst a highly competitive industry with negative growth, it said. Celcom delivered normalised EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) at RM587 million (RM635 million in 4Q16) and normalised PATAMI (profit after tax, amortisation and minority interests) at RM269 million (RM281 million in 4Q16).
It has projected a guided capital expenditure (CAPEX) of RM1.5 billion for this year.
Michael Kuehner, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad said the company continues to stabilise despite a competitive and shrinking market.
“Concurrently, we have implemented several initiatives, which will position us to recapture some market share by the end of the year. We will continue our strong focus on providing best and seamless connectivity and an awesome customer experience for our 10.2 million subscribers. In the next few months we will reveal more changes as we work towards transforming our retail centres to experience centres, and increasing as well as building awareness on our online presence.
“Our high-speed resilient network coupled with creative data packages and entertainment services that are tailor made for evolving lifestyles, will deliver more value to both existing and new customers. To date, our products provide the best value for money in terms of the price-quality trade off, and we take pride in providing a simple, high quality offering with no hidden conditions and fine print,” he said, adding that Celcom’s transformational refresh carried out from Q3 2016, is delivering tangible benefits.
Moving forward in 2017, the company said, “This year, Celcom will continue to strengthen its brand presence and build long-term capabilities in the digital space, revolutionise its customer relationship management and concurrently enhance customer focus to deliver an amazing customer experience underpinned by digitisation.”