Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL), which operates mobile networks in emerging markets, said yesterday that subscribers increased 32.76 per cent in the first quarter due to strong performance in Indonesia.
HTIL said subscribers rose to 9.97 million from 7.51 million last year and was up 6.6 per cent from the fourth quarter.
The figures included HTIL's operations in Indonesia, Vietnam, Israel, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Figures for its Hong Kong and Macau operations were not provided after the spin-off of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong earlier this month.
Hutchison's Indonesia operations added a net 804,000 subscribers in the quarter, bringing the customer base to 5.3 million, up from 4.5 million in the previous quarter and 2.33 million last year.
The growth was mainly the result of a continued network roll-out with more than 6,800 base stations covering all the major cities in Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan, representing 70 per cent of population coverage, the company said.
Average revenue per user (arpu) per month in Indonesia remained stable and non-voice revenue was up 10 per cent quarter on quarter with increased revenue from text messaging and data services. However, because the company reduced promotional on-net minutes to customers, the minute of usage was down 41.5 per cent in the period.
Credit Suisse said in a report last month that HTIL was facing fierce competition in the Indonesian market, given the strength of the top three operators' on-net communities, which could destroy the value of Indonesian operations.
Operations in Israel recorded a 2.8 per cent year-on-year rise in subscribers to 2.903 million in the quarter, while 3G mobile service recorded 1.021 million customers with 70,000 net additions.
Arpu per month declined 6.5 per cent due to lower roaming revenues and the impact of call revenue tariff and the reduction in interconnection fees since March 2008.
Sri Lanka saw an 18.6 per cent drop in customers sequentially to 722,000 due to adverse economic conditions and intensifying competition. Thailand reported a 2.7 per cent decline in customer base to 1.04 million over the previous quarter.