StarHub, the Singaporean integrated service provider 55.81%-owned by Asia Mobile Holdings – a venture which includes Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom) and Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT) – has reported first-quarter net profits of SGD92.8 million (USD68.4 million), up 25.9% from SGD73.7 million in the year-earlier period, despite total revenue falling 4.4% to SGD590.9 million. The carrier attributed the drop in sales to the lower contribution from the sale of equipment, but noted a small (SGD1.9 million) increase in service revenue to SGD542.3 million, aided by higher contributions from broadband and enterprise fixed services, which increased by 11.3% and 5.4% respectively. Mobile revenue dipped 2.4%, however, to SGD298.1 million, on the back of lower post-paid and pre-paid income; mobile is the group’s single largest revenue contributor, accounting for roughly half of overall revenues. Pay-TV sales also fell, down 1.2% year-on-year to SGD94.9 million for the three months under review. EBITDA stood at SGD183.4 million, up 13.2% from SGD162.1 million in Q1 2015; EBITDA margin as a percentage of service revenue was up 3.8 points at 33.8%.
Operationally, StarHub closed out 31 March 2016 with a total of 2.198 million mobile users, up 2.3% from 2.147 million a year earlier, of which 855,000 were pre-paid (846,000, 1Q15). The company noted that the percentage of customers on tiered data mobile subscription plans grew to 65.4% from 62.0%, helping drive up post-paid mobile ARPU which increased SGD1 per month to an average SGD69 – due to an increasing mix of customers on the 4G tiered data plans and excess data usage, which it said was offset by lower revenue from IDD and roaming services. Broadband subscribers (residential) were unchanged y-o-y at 473,000, although within this, the number of subscribers connected by fibre increased to 298,000 from 193,000 previously. Broadband ARPU edged up SGD3 to SGD36 per month. Finally, StarHub’s pay-TV subscriber base stood at 528,000 subscribers at 1 April this year, after quarterly net churn of 8,400 subscribers. Compared to a year ago, the pay-TV subscriber base decreased 17,200 subscribers or 3.2% y-o-y.