Hong Kong cellco SmarTone has issued a profit warning, saying it ‘expects to record a substantial decline in profit attributable to equity holders of around 30% for the year ending 30 June 2020’. The operator says the drop is due to ‘a significant decline in roaming revenues in recent months and the rest of the financial year’. Its statement goes on to add: ‘International travel has practically stopped globally because of the virus COVID-19, and hence both inbound and outbound roamers have declined substantially. The timing and degree of recovery in roaming revenues remains uncertain.’
SmarTone’s full-year results are expected to be announced in early September. The group reported a net profit of HKD632 million (USD81.5 million) in its 2018/19 financial year. Despite the profit warning, the company says it intends to ‘continue to invest in its network and customer services and accelerate investment in 5G, which will substantially enhance the user experience of our customers’. SmarTone was the only one of Hong Kong’s four mobile network operators (MNOs) not to launch 5G services at the start of April.