19 May 2015
Singapore fixed, broadband and mobile operator StarHub booked net profits of SGD73.7 million (USD55.7 million) for the three months ended 31 March 2015, down 12.4% year-on-year, as the total number of mobile subscribers slipped from 2.35 million in Q1 2014 to 2.15 million in Q1 2015, impacted by a sharp decline in pre-paid users to 846,000, from 1.12 million previously. Mobile service revenues in Q1 stood at SGD305.4 million (down 0.2%), although the company said the fall in the PAYG user base was partially offset by an increase in monthly contract users, and higher billings from excess data usage. Post-paid average revenue per user (ARPU) increased to SGD68 per month in the period under review, up from SGD66 a year ago, and pre-paid ARPU rose an average SGD2 per month to SGD18. However, the city-state’s second largest mobile carrier by subscribers saw its share of the market slip to 26.5%, down from 27.8% in March 2014, keeping it firmly behind market leader Singtel. StarHub, which also incurred a SGD50,000 fine following a five-hour disruption to its pay-TV service, noted that overall profitability was marred by a rise in handset subsidies which contributed to EBITDA slumping 8.5% to SGD162.1 million.
StarHub said that whilst overall revenues rose 8.1% y-o-y to SGD617.9 million – driven by higher equipment sales – service revenues declined 1% on an annual basis to SGD540.4 million, largely as a result of lower broadband uptake. Revenue derived from high speed internet services plummeted 11% y-o-y to SGD48 million due to price competition, impacting on subscription revenues from both next and existing (i.e. re-subscribing customers). Broadband ARPU declined from SGD39 in January-March 2014 to SGD33 in the first three months of this year, as StarHub added a net 22,000 residential broadband users for a total of 473.000. Additionally, the telco reported a total of 193,000 fibre broadband subscribers, up from 127,000 in Q1 2014.