Singaporean fixed and mobile operator StarHub started 2019 with a jolt as profits attributable to shareholders plunged 14.2% to SGD54.0 million (USD39.6 million) in Q1 2019, down from SGD63.0 million previously, attributed in the main to lower revenues from mobile and pay-TV operations. Total revenue, however, improved 6.0% year-on-year to SGD596.8 million from SGD563.0 million and EBITDA climbed 5.1% to SGD161.9 million from SGD154.0 million in Q1 2018.
In a filing, the operator noted that revenue derived from Mobile fell 5.3% year-on-year to SGD192.3 million, Pay-TV turnover plunged 12.4% to SGD70.7 million and Broadband sales dipped 0.3% to SGD47.1 million. Only Enterprise Business (up 14.1% at SGD134.1 million) and Sales of Equipment (up 33.2% to SGD152.6 million) bucked the trend, with the company noting that the performance of Mobile was impacted by ‘lower IDD, voice and excess data usage revenue and lower data subscription and VAS (value-added services) revenue, partially offset by the increase in plan subscription and enterprise SMS revenue’.
Operationally, StarHub reported a total of 2.228 million registered mobile users at 31 March 2019, up from 2.191 million at the start of the year, but lower than the 2.283 million reported at 31 March 2018. Mobile blended ARPU fell to SGD39 per month from SGD43 a year ago, as average churn edged up to 1.1% from 1.0% and monthly minutes of use (MOU) fell to 140 (post-paid) and 103 (pre-paid). More positively, average smartphone data usage increased to 6.3GB/month from 4.9GB in 1Q18. In the fixed broadband segment, meanwhile, StarHub recorded 495,000 residential subscribers at end-March 2019, including 449,000 fibre broadband connections, up from 468,000 and 387,000 respectively a year earlier. Broadband ARPU stood at SGD31 a month (down SGD2 y-o-y) and average churn was unchanged at 0.8%.