Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has reported another quarter of strong growth in customer acquisitions, closing out 31 March 2012 with a group total of 445 million mobile subscribers, up 11% (or 42.9 million) on the corresponding period in 2011. In its home market the carrier reported a base of 3.58 million users, up 8.3% (or 273,000 net new customers) from the year-earlier period. Of the net gains, 171,000 were contract customers, it said, lifting the post-paid base by 9.6% year-on-year to 1.95 million. SingTel says the strong growth in contract users was driven by increased demand for smartphones and data SIMs for integrated mobile broadband bundles. Meanwhile, the unit’s pre-paid base also rose by 6.7% to 1.63 million on the back of rising sales of 3G products – such as 3G SIM, data and BlackBerry value added services (VAS).
The group’s Indian affiliate Bharti Airtel, in which it has an effective roughly 32% stake, reported a total mobile user base of 241 million as at 31 March 2012, up 14% (29.2 million) y-o-y. As well as being the biggest GSM operator in its domestic market, Airtel has significant interests in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Africa. Meanwhile, the Singapore group’s Indonesia affiliate Telkomsel closed out the first quarter of the year with almost 110 million mobile connections, up 10.5 million or 11% from 1Q11, while Optus in Australia added 421,000 net new users for a total of 9.49 million (+5%). Elsewhere, AIS (Thailand) closed out the first quarter with 34.14 million mobile users, compared to 31.95 million in 1Q11, Globe Telecom (Philippines) had 31.03 million (27.32 million), Warid (Pakistan) had 14.40 million (17.81 million) and PBTL (Bangladesh) had 1.79 million (unchanged).
Finally, SingTel also reported that its total number of 3G customers increased by 6% y-o-y to 6.63 million as at 21 March 2012, including 1.58 million wireless broadband customers (+23%).