SingTel – BT

SingTel streaks ahead in prepaid mobile market

WITH aggressive marketing, Singapore Telecommunications has trumped the competition in the prepaid mobile phone market, the only growth segment in Singapore’s mature telco market.

Singapore’s handphone subscriptions stands at 5.9 million, exceeding the 4.59 million population which gives a penetration rate of 129.1 per cent.

Yesterday, SingTel also trumpeted that its latest combined regional base has zipped past 185 million customers, a pretty impressive number for the telco to launch the iPhone later this year. On Monday, SingTel said it had clinched the right the sell the iPhone across four markets in Asia – Singapore, Australia, India and the Philippines.

SingTel, which reports full-year 2008 results today, said in Singapore that it added a record 244,000 mobile customers in the first three months of this year. This brought its total mobile customer base to 2.57 million on March 31, a gain of 41 per cent from a year ago.

The growth was fuelled by demand in the prepaid mobile segment, which is dominated by foreign workers and their families. During the quarter, SingTel netted 207,000 prepaid mobile customers. This pushed its prepaid mobile customer base to 1.2 million customers, making SingTel the clear market leader.

Rivals StarHub and MobileOne grew their customer base a slower 13 per cent and 14.8 per cent respectively. StarHub in the same period has 975,000 prepaid out of a total 1.8 million mobile phone customers. M1, the third ranked telco, has 679,000 prepaid customers out of a total 1.5 million.

All three telcos are locked in an intense fight to hold on to their mobile phone customers ahead of next month’s true mobile number portability launch, where subscribers can change operators effortlessly at zero cost.

In the region, SingTel’s combined mobile customer base reached 185.34 million on March 31. The group’s mobile customer base in the eight markets – Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – rose almost 50 per cent from 123.79 million customers a year ago. Compared with the previous quarter, the increase was 8 per cent, or a record 13.8 million customers .

Associate Bharti, India’s largest telco, drew a record 6.82 million new customers for the quarter, bringing its total to 61.99 million customers – up 67 per cent from a year ago.

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