Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC), Thailand’s second largest mobile network operator by subscribers, has reported that its net income fell by 29% year-on-year to THB6.6 billion (USD200 million) in 2009, mainly as the result of a THB2.4 billion one-off gain from a legal settlement posted in the previous twelve-month period. Total turnover slipped by 3% to THB65.7 billion in 2009, compared to THB67.7 billion in 2008, as revenue from interconnection slid by THB2.1 billion (14.4%) to THB12.7 billion. However, the GSM provider, a subsidiary of Norway’s Telenor, said in a statement that its ‘better than expected’ results indicated ‘a continued improvement in the economy’, as it quoted predictions of around 3%-5% GDP growth for the country this year. The cellco forecast that it would achieve ‘high single digit’ turnover growth in 2010, and is aiming to boost sales by focusing on smartphone take-up, despite the continuing uncertainty over when Thailand will issue 2100MHz 3G licences. The company indicated that it will explore the possibility of further utilising its 850MHz wireless spectrum to expand its trial 3G service (under its existing 2G build-transfer-operate (BTO) agreement with CAT Telecom), in the absence of full network operating concessions in the 2100MHz band. DTAC recently launched BlackBerry services, with the handsets going on sale in December 2009.
DTAC added a net 975,000 mobile subscribers in the twelve months to the end of December 2009 to reach a total of 19.66 million; it signed up 386,000 net new users in the fourth quarter alone, representing a monthly loss of 41,000 post-paid contracts offset by an increase of 426,000 active pre-paid accounts.