SingTel – BT

SingTel gets record 197,000 new mobile subscribers in Q3

Group combined mobile subscriber base in the region hits 171.5m

GIANT telco Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) continues to hoover up mobile phone subscriptions as consumers indulge in their love affair with the handset.

For the quarter ended Dec 31, 2007, SingTel has scooped a record 197,000 new subscribers to bring its total to 2.33 million, meaning one in two people in Singapore is its customer.

The record quarterly increase of 197,000 prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers beat the preceding quarter’s high of 185,000 net additions, said SingTel in a statement yesterday.

Singapore’s population stands at 4.68 million, comprising one million foreign workers and their families and 3.68 million Singaporeans and permanent residents. But the popularity of the mobile phone here has led to more handsets than people. According to the latest data from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, total mobile subscriptions as at end-November 2007 stood at 5.432 million or a penetration rate of 116.1 per cent.

SingTel’s market share as at end-November was 41.2 per cent, up from 40.3 per cent as at end-September, said a company spokeswoman. The company reports third-quarter and nine-month results ended Dec 31, 2007 today.

Smaller rivals StarHub and MobileOne (M1) have been struggling to keep their market share amid tough competition.

M1, which posted full-year 2007 results last month, said its customer base rose 14.8 per cent to 1.54 million but market share fell to 27.4 per cent at the end of November from 28.5 per cent a year ago.

StarHub will post fourth-quarter 2007 results on Feb 13, 2007. Elsewhere in the region, SingTel’s associates too have been hitting records in garnering more mobile phone subscribers. Group combined mobile subscriber base in the region has reached 171.54 million as at Dec 31, 2007, up 53 per cent from Dec 31, 2006’s 112.28 million.

The latest figure was boosted by the addition of Warid Telecom’s 13.21 million subscribers in Pakistan in the quarter. SingTel bought 30 per cent of Warid in September 2007. SingTel has associates in Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.

Recording the fastest growth pace was Indonesian associate Telkomsel. Its 3.43 million net addition was more than double the previous quarter’s 1.65 million, bringing the total customer base to 47.89 million as at end-2007. SingTel has a 35 per cent stake in Telkomsel which is currently facing charges of price fixing and may be forced to reduce its tariffs. SingTel and parent Temasek Holdings are also fighting anti-competitive charges in the Indonesian courts.

Doing well too was Bharti which propelled past the 50 million mark. Bharti, India’s largest regional mobile, broke its previous net addition records by attracting 6.29 million mobile subscribers in the quarter. As at Dec 31, 2007, Bharti – in which SingTel owns 30.45 per cent – has enlarged its subscriber base to 55.16 million mobile subscribers.

AIS, Globe Telecom, PBTL and Warid Telecom also posted healthy subscriber growth of between 4.4 per cent and 11.3 per cent during the quarter.

Optus, SingTel’s Australian unit, saw its subscriber base pass the seven million mark at end-2007, up from 6.68 million a year ago.

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