StarHub announces successful 5G trial with Nokia; 3Q profits fall 28%

3 Nov 2016

Singapore’s second largest telecom services provider by subscribers StarHub reported net profit of SGD86 million (USD62 million) for the three months ended 30 September 2016, down 28% from SGD119 million in the same period a year ago, as falling mobile revenue and spectrum fees impacted on its bottom line. The telco booked turnover of SGD585 million in July-September, down 3% year-on-year from SGD603 million in 3Q15. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at SGD179 million, down from SGD199 million. Third-quarter CAPEX was SGD150 million, up 124% y-o-y, in part the result of the company’s SGD80 million spectrum payment, it said.

StarHub’s third-quarter mobile revenue of SGD299 million was down 3.6% on an annualised basis, although its mobile base grew by a net 98,000 connections y-o-y to a total of 2.275 million; 902,000 of these were pre-paid and 1.373 million were post-paid customers. Average revenue per user (ARPU) for post-paid mobile customers remained stable, at SGD70 per month, while pre-paid ARPU slipped by SGD2 to SGD16. Meanwhile, sales derived from pay-TV added SGD93.6 million (down 3.7%), broadband contributed SGD54.7 million (down 7.1%), enterprise fixed services a further SGD98.4 million (down 1%), and sale of equipment contributed SGD39.2 million, down 12.9% from SGD44.9 million previously. Broadband users increased by a net 2,000 in the quarter to 475,000; internet ARPU also increased, from SGD33 up to SGD37 per month. Pay-TV subscribers, however, declined by 35,000 y-o-y to 507,000 customers.

Separately, StarHub and Nokia have announced the successful demonstration of 4.3Gbps and 1ms latency 5G technology using centimeter wave (cmWave) frequencies. In a joint release, the pair announced they have been trialling Nokia’s AirScale integrated radio access network platform over StarHub’s live mobile network. The 5G demonstration was conducted at StarHub’s headquarters as part of the operator’s ongoing trials into future technologies to facilitate emerging use cases such as virtual and augmented reality streaming and e-health applications. cmWave refers to carrier frequencies between 3GHz and 30GHz, which compares to millimetre wave frequencies above 30GHz. These higher-band frequencies are expected to form a key component of future 5G networks.

Singapore, Nokia, Nokia Networks (formerly NSN), StarHub