Millicom International Cellular (MIC) has booked revenues of USD1.199 billion for the three months ended 30 September 2012, up 8.4% year-on-year. Increases in operating expenses however saw earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) drop to USD507 million from USD529 million a year earlier, whilst net profits slid to USD165 million from USD210 million in the corresponding period of 2011. MIC notes that revenue growth was negatively affected by currency movements. The group completed a 20% initial investment in two subsidiaries of Rocket Internet, Latin America Internet Holdings and Africa Internet Holdings, during the period under review though the duo only contributed one month of revenues to the group and net EBITDA losses of USD2.3 million. MIC claimed 46.031 million mobile subscribers at the end of the period, including 5.793 million wireless data users. MIC’s cable networks passed 1.557 million homes, claiming 864,000 revenue generating units (RGUs), up from 1.358 million and 707,000 respectively in Q3 2011.
MIC’s Central American units generated 39% of the group’s revenue, despite a 6.4% y-o-y decline in mobile ARPU, attributed to pricing pressure in El Salvador and decreasing international traffic in Guatemala. Mobile data grew by 31% compared to the year-ago period, and mobile subscribers increased by 7.8% y-o-y to 15.3 million.
The South America region, meanwhile contributed 40% of the group’s revenue, with a 12.9% increase in wireless subscriptions to 12.3 million compared to 10.9 million in Q3 2011. EBITDA margin in Colombia was below 25% as MIC invested in offering low-priced bundles as part of a drive to capitalise on growing demand for data services. The company accepted lower profitability in the market, noting that the strength of demand in Colombia for consumers switching from pre- to post-paid plans and migrating from voice to data services would rapidly yield returns on the investment. Despite representing the lion’s share of MIC’s subscriber base, with 18.5 million wireless customers at the end of Q3 2012 (up 7.5% y-o-y), the group’s African subsidiaries contributed just 21% of the total revenues for the period. The region continued to register declining ARPU, though this was offset by subscriber increases, leading to flat annual revenue growth of just 0.1%.