Australian mobile operator Optus signed up 168,000 new mobile users in the three months to 30 June 2004, lifting its total to 5.7 million, despite a cellular penetration rate of 80% in the country. The Australian cellco’s parent, Singapore-based SingTel, said that growth was achieved thanks to the popularity of new services such as its mobile information and entertainment portal Optus Zoo, which reported over 860,000 registered users at the end of June. Optus is reported to be growing at three times the rate of its parent and predicts that the strong growth momentum will be maintained throughout 2004. The mobile operator contributes more than 50% of SingTel’s revenue and posted full year net profit of AUD440 million for the year-ended 31 March 2004. Optus says it is also close to completing the compulsory acquisition of data networks service provider Uecomm. It purchased 66% of Uecomm from Alinta earlier this year and then launched a takeover bid which was backed by the Uecomm board. It now holds 86% of the equity of the company and hopes to raise this to 90% by the middle of this week.