Indonesia’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers Indosat Ooredoo said it returned to profit in the first nine months of this year, fuelled by double-digit growth in data users. The operator reported a net profit of IDR845 billion (USD64 million) in the nine months under review, reversing a net loss of IDR1.12 trillion in the same period a year ago, as operating revenue surged 9.9% year-on-year to IDR21.5 trillion. Indosat Ooredoo attributed the turnaround to improvements on the operational level which it says combined with a stable currency and lower dollar debt. Its dollar debt fell from USD505 million in 9M15 to USD186 million in 9M16. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), meanwhile, increased 10.5% to IDR9.46 trillion, although the carrier warned of falling average ARPUs and a decline in data yields – caused, it notes, by major players offering significant bonus data quotas to add market share. It closed out 30 September 2016 with a total of 81.6 million mobile users (up 18% y-o-y), including 39.4 million data subscribers (+22%), even as ARPU fell 10.2% from a year ago to IDR24,200 (USD1.83) per month. Smartphone users now account for 48% of its total user base.
Indosat Ooredoo is looking to spend a total of between IDR6.5 trillion and IDR7.5 trillion in FY2016 to boost its 3G and 4G network coverage. By end-September, it had a total of 54,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) in service, up 17% from a year ago, including more than 4,000 4G BTS and 26,000 3G sites. It said 4G coverage has reached 94 cities.