Thu, Jul 26, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Mobile market leadership claimed by Far EasTone

RACING AHEAD:The firm’s 6.78 million mobile users is an increase of 4% over the same period last year, with 23% prepaid customers and 77% postpaid customers

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) said yesterday it remained the leader in the local mobile market in the second quarter as its mobile service revenue grew the most among the nation’s three telecoms operators.

The nation’s No. 3 telecoms operator also said it achieved its business guidance set earlier in the second quarter in both revenue and earnings, and pledged to maintain its capital expenditure at NT$8.7 billion (US$289 million) this year to upgrade its services, despite the slowing economy.

However, Far EasTone denied media reports that it was engaged in cooperation or acquisition talks with cash-strapped First International Telecom Corp (大眾電信).

“That is purely media report. There is no ground at all,” Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) told investors on a conference call yesterday, when the company reported its second-quarter results.

The Taipei-based company posted annual growth of 9.4 percent in mobile service revenue to NT$15.1 billion (US$499.9 million) in the second quarter, while its mobile data revenue expanded 47.2 percent to NT$4.35 billion in the quarter, Li said.

The company’s 9.4 percent increase in mobile service revenue compared with 3.5 percent growth seen at bigger rival Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) in the second quarter and 5.9 percent growth at Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大), according to Far EasTone.

The company's 47.2 percent increase in mobile data revenue also outperformed Chunghwa's 33.6 percent growth and 41.8 percent growth for Taiwan Mobile Co during the same quarter, it said.

Far EasTone said its total subscribers increased for a 26th consecutive month last month, with the number reaching 6.78 million mobile users as of June 30, up from 6.69 million as of March 31, Li said.

Last month, she said the company’s goal was to increase its total number of subscribers to 7 million by next year.

The 6.78 million mobile users represented an increase of 4 percent over the same period last year and within that, 23 percent were prepaid customers and 77 percent postpaid customers, the company’s data showed.

Aside from subscriber growth, Far EasTone saw a continued increase in both traffic and average revenue per user (ARPU) in the second quarter, as it reported an 8.2 percent increase in total postpaid minutes on an annual basis and a 7.1 percent growth in ARPU from last year.

Far EasTone said 32 percent of its mobile subscribers used smartphones, which helped drive up ARPU to NT$885 last quarter from NT$826 a year ago. Subscribers using smartphones have a higher average contribution of up to NT$1,500 in ARPU, the company said.

In terms of the profitability, the company’s consolidated earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 19 percent year-on-year and 6.4 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$6.39 billion, while net income rose 32 percent year-on-year and 13.3 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$2.72 billion, or earnings per share of NT$0.83.

EBITDA margin approached 25 percent in the second quarter, mostly driven by enterprise customers.

Li said the company had attracted new corporate customers such as Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技), the nation's biggest PC DRAM chipmaker, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體), the world's top chip packager and tester, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world's top contract chipmaker, on different projects in the quarter, boosting its revenues from enterprise customers to grow 10 percent quarter-on-quarter, with market share expanding to 13.1 percent from 12.5 percent a year ago.

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