Singapore’s smallest mobile operator by subscribers MobileOne Asia (M1) yesterday reported a 7.6% rise in fourth-quarter profits to SGD39.8 million (USD26 million) on the back of strong subscriber gains and a marked rise in revenues from data services. Buoyed by the encouraging performance, the company is now predicting sales from data services, including SMS texting, will rise by 50% in the next twelve to 18 months. M1 chief executive officer Neil Montefiore said in an interview: ‘Thirty percent of the revenue will come from data and other non-voice such as SMS,’ up from 20.1% in the fourth quarter 2006. Montefiore is banking on strong demand for data services to lift earnings as revenues from voice calls decline. In the fourth quarter of 2006 M1 reported that voice calls accounted for 79.9% of total revenues, compared with 80.4% a year earlier.
M1 launched a high speed internet access service for residential users in December, using high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology, offering download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. The cellco says it has signed up around 10,000 data subscribers on its home access and 3G mobile networks, and expects to add about 3,000 to 5,000 data users a month during the course of 2007. Montefiore added that the increased focus on data had made a positive impact on monthly average revenue per user (ARPU). The ARPU for data services rose 56% from a year earlier to SGD41.80 in the fourth quarter.
M1 had 1.337 million mobile users at the end of December 2006, a market share of 28.5%, down from 29.1% a year earlier, but a rise from 28.4% in the third quarter. It hopes to expand its user base when Singapore adopts mobile number portability (MNP) from the fourth quarter.