Thailand-based group Thaicom has reported its end of year results, including statistics on its part-owned subsidiaries in Laos and Cambodia, Lao Telecommunications Company (LTC) and Mfone. The Thai firm’s revenue from telephone services in these two countries was THB702 million (USD23.5 million) in 2012, up by 22.3% compared to THB574 million in 2011. It noted that after the Laos Ministry of Post, Telecommunication and Communication (MPTC) introduced controls on tariffs for telecoms services and disallowed operators from giving free airtime, LTC enjoyed a steady increase in average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) in the year. Internet revenues generated by LTC were also higher following an increase in the number of subscribers, mainly using wireless broadband based on HSPA technology. At the end of December 2012 LTC reported total telephony subscribers of 1,335,598, a quarter-on-quarter decrease of around 54,000, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, which says that LTC had 1.296 million mobile customers at end-September 2012 (virtually flat year-on-year) and around 94,000 wireline subscribers, or a total of around 1.390 million. The recent drop is explained by the MPTC’s announcement in Q3 2012 that all mobile pre-paid subscribers must register their identities. As a result, Thaicom notes that a significant number of customers holding multiple SIM cards had churned out, leading to a decreased mobile market size in Laos.
In Cambodia, Mfone reported total telephony subscribers of 365,316 at the end of 2012 (down from around 460,000 a year earlier, GlobalComms notes). Mfone filed a petition for the opening of insolvency proceedings to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 9 January 2013, and the court is now considering the case. As reported by CommsUpdate, Mfone has begun migrating subscribers to another operator, Mobitel, although the legality of this subscriber transfer move may be under question.
In Thaicom’s core satellite business, its new THAICOM 6 and THAICOM 7 orbiters will be launched in 2013 and 2014, respectively, enhancing its capability to meet increasing demand in Asia Pacific and Africa. Elsewhere, the group said its IPSTAR satellite became the first broadband satellite to provide commercial WiMAX backhaul services in Japan.