StarHub sees net profit tumble 12% on falling subs base, lower broadband revenues

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.

Singapore, StarHub