News From Telecom World

Thailand’s DTAC – Growth Weakens and ARPUs Continue to Slide

Posted on: February 20, 2009

In 2008, DTAC saw its annual growth rate drop below 20% for the first time in three years, with a yearly gain of 18.5%. However, given that Thailand’s penetration rate is now beyond 90%, this still represents a reasonably strong result. In real terms, DTAC’s active customer base grew by 2.91m to 18.68m, down by almost 1m on the 2007 gain of 3.90m.

The quarterly gain stood at 0.47m, the second lowest figure recorded since the company began reporting active customer numbers in Q3 06. Prepaid net additions hit a new low of 0.35m, while the contract segment performed well with an increase of 0.12m. In annual terms, prepaid net additions fell from 3.87m in 2007 to 2.51m in 2008, but contract net additions increased more than tenfold, from 0.04m to 0.40m. This took the contract customer base to 2.47m compared to 16.21m prepaid. Despite the improvement in growth in the contract sector in 2008, there was only a 0.1pp increase in the percentage of contract customers to 13.2%. There was, however, a substantial increase in inactive customers during 2008, from 1.28m to 2.18m. This goes some way towards explaining the drop in prepaid net additions, as all inactive customers are prepaid.

ARPUs were also down. Blended ARPU including interconnect dropped 19.5% annually to THB 281, the lowest figure ever recorded. In fact, there has been a decline in every quarter since gross ARPU was first reported in Q1 07. Prepaid and contract ARPUs were also at all-time lows of THB 234 and THB 620 respectively in Q4 08. These falls are largely attributable to a decline in usage, with blended AMPU down to an average of 311 minutes per month in Q4 08, compared to 373 minutes in Q4 07.

The drop in ARPU was reflected in the service revenue figures, with the Q4 08 total down 0.5% to THB 12.72bn. EBITDA was up, however, a 5.1% gain taking the quarterly figure to THB 5.13bn. On an annual basis there was a 3.3% gain in service revenues to THB 51.72bn, while EBITDA rose 10.0% to THB 20.77bn. This implied an improvement of 2.5pp in the EBITDA margin to 40.2%.

Source: cellular news

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