Luxembourg-based telecoms group Millicom International Cellular (MIC) has registered net profits of USD143 million for the three months to 31 March 2013, up from USD109 million in the corresponding period of 2012. Despite falling average monthly revenue per user (ARPU), revenues surged 6.7% year-on-year to USD1.246 billion offsetting the impact of increasing operating expenses, which rose 18.8% to USD543 million. At USD1.031 billion, wireless service continues to contribute the lion’s share of MIC’s revenues although that sector has seen the smallest increase in income, rising 1.3% y-o-y. By comparison, MIC’s cable-based revenues increased by 10.4% to USD107 million, whilst mobile financial services generated USD16 million for the group, compared to USD6 million in the same period of 2012.
MIC’s mobile ARPU, which has been on the decline for more than a year, accelerated in Q1 2013, falling to USD7.9 from USD8.3 the previous quarter and USD8.5 in Q1 2013. Central America saw the greatest fall, to USD10.0 from USD10.06 at end-December 2012, whilst ARPU fell by USD0.3 and USD0.2 quarter-on-quarter in South America and Africa respectively. On a more positive note, MIC recorded net additions of 788,000 mobile data users, increasing its total to 7.135 million. MIC cleared its Bolivian customer base of inactive users, leading to net losses of some 180,000 subscribers, whilst a new SIM registration tax in Chad slowed growth, leading to overall losses of 75,000 users. Net disconnections of 65,000 subscribers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 31,000 customers in Rwanda were attributed to the distribution of free SIMs by MIC’s competitors. Guatemala and Colombia saw strong growth, meanwhile, adding 330,000 and 242,000 new users. Overall, MIC’s total wireless subscriber base grew by 175,000 users in Q1 2013 to 47.404 million.