Chilean telecoms group Entel has reported a 12% increase in its first quarter turnover, booking total revenues of CLP530.7 billion (USD633.8 million) in the three months to end-March 2020. Entel attributed the expansion to a combination of organic growth and the sale of a second tranche of towers to American Tower Corporation (ATC) during the period. EBITDA grew by 25% year-on-year to CLP172.7 billion, and pre-tax profit was CLP22.7 billion. Entel reported net loss of CLP22.5 billion for the period under review, however, compared to a profit of CLP10.1 billion in Q1 2019, with the company explaining the swing as the result of higher taxes due to the impact of foreign exchange movements on its taxable investments in foreign subsidiaries.
The company’s mobile subscriber base in its domestic market continued to decline, falling to 8.983 million users at 31 March 2020, down from 9.092 million three months earlier and 9.357 million in Q1 2019. The downward trend has been isolated to the pre-paid segment – the pre-paid subscriber total fell by 20% y-o-y – and was the result of customers migrating to post-paid plans and the disconnection of inactive users. Consequently ARPU was CLP9,150 in Q1 2020, compared to CLP8,624 a year earlier. Mobile data usage saw a sharp uptick during the period, in part due to the ongoing global pandemic, rising to an average of 12.78GB per user per month from 10.45GB in the preceding quarter and 9.68GB in the year-ago period. Entel notes that the move towards working from home data traffic increased across the board due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with mobile and fixed data traffic increasing ‘compared to pre-COVID-19 weeks [by] 18% and 22% respectively in Chile and 15% and 30%, respectively in Peru’. Meanwhile, the company counted a total of 8.537 million mobile customers in Peru – up from 8.159 million a year earlier – and ARPU rose y-o-y from USD7.20 to USD7.37. Entel recorded a decline in ARPU on quarter-on-quarter basis, but noted that this was the result of a reduction in equipment revenue.