SmarTone targets 4G launch this year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 12:00am


SmarTone Telecommunications expects to launch its 4G mobile network this year to boost subscriber capacity to be on par with larger rivals in the market.

The firm yesterday reported a 48 per cent rise in net profit to HK$475 million for the six months to December, from HK$320 million a year earlier, after adding more subscribers and recording higher monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) because of increased use of its data services.

Revenue climbed 31 per cent to HK$2.81 billion from HK$2.14 billion.

The number of subscribers with SmarTone, which operates mobile networks in Hong Kong and Macau, grew 12 per cent from a year earlier to 1.62 million at the end of December.

Monthly ARPU rose 15 per cent year on year to HK$227 on the back of greater data service usage by subscribers who own internet-linked smartphones and media tablets.

Chief executive Douglas Li said the firm was preparing to launch its 4G mobile system on the 1800-megahertz frequency band, based on the industry standard called long term evolution (LTE), within the year, when network-compatible handsets become available.

'Don't believe the hype,' Li said, referring to pronouncements made by rival operators that connecting to a 4G LTE network would allow users to enjoy greater download speed than those on today's widely available 42 megabits per second connection. A 4G link has a theoretical download speed of 100Mbps.

He said an LTE network's purpose was primarily to add more capacity for data services efficiently and complement the use of current networks based on the 3G standard called evolved high-speed packet access (HSPA+).


The gain in SmarTone's share price this year

- The stock last traded at HK$15.50