SingTel – BT

SingTel leads mobile subscriber gains in Q2

Telco’s cellphone user base up 6.6% amid re-invigorated mobile landscape

By WINSTON CHAI

THE first bout in Singapore’s re-invigorated mobile landscape has gone the way of Singapore Telecommunications, with the company reporting the largest increase in cellular subscribers for the second quarter of this year.

SingTel added 182,000 new local customers for the three months ended June 30, bringing its cell-phone user base here up 6.6 per cent to 2.75 million.

The increase was the largest among the three local operators for the quarter, a period which marked the introduction of true mobile number portability (MNP) in Singapore.

The new government directive, which took effect on June 13, is aimed at intensifying competition in the mobile sector by allowing subscribers to easily switch operators while retaining their current phone numbers. In the wake of MNP, all three telcos have increased their marketing efforts and upped handset subsidies to retain and attract customers.

In the second quarter, StarHub added 178,200 subscribers to bring its cellular user base to 1.8 million. M1 recorded the smallest customer gain of 57,000 to take its customer tally to 1.6 million.

Collectively, Singapore’s handphone subscriptions have now swelled to 6.15 million, translating to a mobile penetration of 134.2 per cent.

According to SingTel, its subscriber growth in the second quarter was fuelled by strong demand for its prepaid mobile business, especially among the growing population of foreign workers. The group added 151,000 new prepaid customers in the quarter, cementing SingTel’s lead in this space with a total of 1.34 million customers.

On a regional level, SingTel, which reports first-quarter results today, said its total number of mobile customers in Asia has reached a new of high 197.71 million in June.

The group’s cellular subscriber base across eight markets – Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – grew 45 per from 136.35 million a year ago. On a quarterly basis, the increase was 6.7 per cent.

Excluding Pakistani telco Warid, SingTel’s regional associates grew their customer bases from 14 per cent to 63 per cent in the second quarter compared with 2007, the group said in a statement yesterday. For example, Indonesia’s Telkomsel added 1.11 million customers, while Philippines-based Globe boosted its customer base by 1.46 million.

SingTel’s Indian associate Bharti, the country’s largest telco, recorded the biggest improvement with 7.4 million new subscribers during the period, bringing its total to 69.38 million customers.

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