Southeast Asia’s biggest telecoms operator by subscribers and revenue, Singapore Telecom (SingTel) today reported its net profit for July-September 2013, noting that income in its fiscal Q2 edged up 0.3% year-on-year as a strong local dollar (SGD) weighed heavily on its overseas earnings. SingTel booked net profits of SGD870 million (USD698.2 million) for the period under review, up from SGD868 million in the corresponding year-earlier period, as group revenue declined 8.9% y-o-y to SGD4.16 billion, mainly due to the impact of the strong SGD against the Australian dollar (AUD), which impacted on its 100% owned SingTel Optus unit, the country’s second largest telecoms company. ‘As a major part of the group’s earnings comes from outside of Singapore, our strong operating performance was impacted by the strengthening of the Singapore dollar,’ said CEO Chua Sock Koong. The group also owns significant stakes in India (Bharti Airtel), Indonesia (PT Telkomsel), Thailand (Advanced Info Service), the Philippines’ (Globe Telecom) and Bangladeshi telco Pacific Bangladesh Telecom. Ms Chua noted though that the AUD, Indian rupee and Indonesian rupiah have all depreciated by about 10% against the Singapore dollar over the past year.
Operationally speaking, SingTel reported a 7% y-o-y rise in aggregate mobile users in the year to 30 September 2013, to 486 million. ‘In the developing markets where our regional mobile associates operate, millions of customers are experiencing the internet for the first time via their mobile phones,’ Ms Chua said, adding: ‘To encourage data usage and ensure a positive user experience, our associates are investing significantly in mobile infrastructure and content’.