SingTel – BT

SingTel gets more cellphone customers

Increase is due to fast-growing mobile phone market in Africa, South Asia

THE fast-growing mobile phone market in Africa and South Asia has driven Singapore Telecommunications’ total mobile customer base to 424 million as at Sept 30, a 15 per cent increase from last year’s 368 million.

SingTel associate, Airtel, added 39.3 million new customers in South Asia and Africa.

Its total subscriber base is 227 million, with 173 million from India alone.

It also managed to grow its subscriber base in Africa by 21 per cent or 8.4 million people. It expanded into the fastest-growing African country, Rwanda, in the third quarter, offering 2G and 3G mobile services there.

Globe Telecom Inc, SingTel’s joint venture with Ayala Corp in the Philippines, yesterday announced it will spend US$790 million to upgrade its network and technology systems to expand its footprint and cut costs.

Its mobile customer base as at Sept 30 was 29 million, up 15 per cent from 25 million last year.

Globe’s ‘biggest and most significant investment’ in 20 years will help it meet an anticipated increase in voice and data demand and to ward off competition from market leader Philippine Long Distance Telephone.

PLDT last month wrapped up the US$1.7 billion purchase of Digital Telecommunications Philippines, which gave it 70 per cent control over the domestic mobile phone market.

Globe will spend US$700 million over the first five years to give its network a facelift and the remaining US$90 million to re-engineer its IT systems over two years.

Globe will most likely sell US$550 million and US$600 million of bonds in the next six to eight months to fund the investment.

SingTel will be announcing its second quarter results today.

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