News From Telecom World

Telkomsel Q1 2009 – Excellent Customer Growth, but at a Cost

Posted on: May 28, 2009

Indonesian market leader Telkomsel saw another excellent quarter for customer growth in Q1 09. In fact, its figure of 6.83m net additions was the second highest ever recorded behind its own Q3 08 boost of 8.06m. At the end of the quarter, it had 72.13m customers. Despite the strong quarterly performance, Telkomsel fell from 6th to 7th in the world rankings of individual operators, having been overtaken by Reliance of India.

On an annual basis, Telkomsel added just under 20.8m customers, compared to 12.43m for the prior twelve month period. Proportionate annual growth improved from 32.0% to 40.5%. It is the prepaid base which has driven growth, taking 99.6% of the year.s net additions. It finished the quarter with 70.18m customers, compared to 1.95m contract. Annual contract growth fell from 9.7% to just 3.9%, with net additions slumping from 166k to 74k.

The bullish growth in customers has been at the cost of ARPU figures. There were double-digit annual declines across the board, with the two prepaid brands seeing particularly marked drops: budget brand .KARTU As. saw a 35.0% yearly drop to IDR26,000 while .simPATI. was down 35.5% to IDR49,000. In fact, both saw declines of more than 20% in Q1 09 alone. Meanwhile, contract ARPU was down 16.7% to IDR200,000 and blended ARPU fell 29.9% to IDR47,000. All of these figures were all-time lows by some margin.

Although the customer growth rate exceeded the rate of ARPU decline, operating revenues fell by 3.6% to IDR9,248bn. Prepaid revenues actually rose slightly, a 0.5% gain taking the Q1 figure to IDR8,026bn, but postpaid revenues were down 17.4% to IDR994bn. Even more damaging was a 26.4% decline in interconnect revenues to IDR594bn. The drop in revenues, combined with a 21.8% increase in operating expenses, left EBITDA down by 13.2% to IDR5,895bn. However, at 63.7% the EBITDA margin remains robust.

Source: cellular news

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