Cel­com to en­hance net­work qual­ity, con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - News - By TOH KAR INN karinn@thes­tar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Cel­com Ax­i­ata Bhd will fo­cus on en­hanc­ing its net­work qual­ity and con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence for the sec­ond half of the year.

Speak­ing at Cel­com’s me­dia brief­ing yes­ter­day, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Michael Kuehner said the com­pany would utilise its re­main­ing cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture (capex) al­lo­ca­tion to in­vest in th­ese two ar­eas.

In the first half of the year, Cel­com had utilised some RM386mil of its al­lo­cated capex, with a por­tion of the funds be­ing used for the spec­trum re­farm­ing ex­er­cise.

“Our to­tal capex guid­ance re­mains at RM1.5bil for this year, of which in­vest­ments for on­go­ing net­work ex­pan­sion will be an es­ti­mated RM1­bil, within the ap­proved bud­get.

“Cel­com will de­liver on its prom­ise for best video ex­pe­ri­ence.

“As of the sec­ond quar­ter ended June 30, Cel­com’s long-term evo­lu­tion (LTE) pop­u­la­tion cov­er­age had reached 77%,” he said.

The com­pany is tar­get­ing to achieve 85% pop­u­la­tion cov­er­age for its LTE cov­er­age by year-end.

Kuehner added that the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions spec­trum re­farm­ing of the 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz fre­quen­cies was suc­cess­fully com­pleted ahead of deadlines set by the Malaysian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia Com­mis­sion.

“The spec­trum re­farm­ing project, which cov­ered 7,400 sites in six re­gions, will de­liver en­hanced net­work ser­vices at af­ford­able rates in ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas in the fu­ture,” he said.

Dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter, Cel­com reg­is­tered a 3.4% in­crease in its nor­malised profit af­ter tax and mi­nor­ity in­ter­ests (Patami) to RM331mil com­pared with the pre­vi­ous cor­re­spond­ing quar­ter.

On a quar­ter-on-quar­ter (q-o-q) ba­sis, Cel­com’s nor­malised Patami grew by 23%.

This was on the back of higher ser­vice rev­enue and to­tal rev­enue of RM1.5bil and RM1.62bil, mark­ing a q-o-q growth of 1.4% and 0.7% re­spec­tively.

Cel­com’s earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est, tax, de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­sa­tion (EBITDA) for the sec­ond quar- ter also saw a 7.2% q-o-q growth to RM630mil.

Chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Jennifer Wong at­tributes the im­proved EBITDA to a higher ser­vice rev­enue and sta­bil­is­ing cost struc­ture.

“We are start­ing to see some of the re­sults of our cost-op­ti­mi­sa­tion ef­forts un­der the trans­for­ma­tional ac­cel­er­ated cost ef­fi­ciency pro­gramme, and will see bet­ter trac­tion as we go along.

“The fo­cus for the com­pany now and mov­ing for­ward lies more on the ser­vice rev­enue be­cause that is where we de­rive more prof­itabil­ity.

“Ser­vice rev­enue in the sec­ond quar­ter had im­proved, mainly driven by the post­paid av­er­age rev­enue per user (arpu) and rev­enue from our part­ners,” she said.

De­spite in­dus­try chal­lenges, Cel­com con­tin­ued to sta­bilise with a strong over­all data per­for­mance, with a year-on-year data rev­enue growth of 27.6% to RM706mil, con­tribut­ing 43.5% to the com­pany’s to­tal rev­enue.

Post­paid arpu rose to RM82 from the first quar­ter’s RM81 (+1.2%), while pre­paid arpu rose to RM31 from RM30 (+2.3%) dur­ing the same pe­riod.

Lively brief­ing: Kuehner (left), Wong, and Cel­com Ax­i­ata busi­ness op­er­a­tions deputy CEO Azwan Khan Os­man Khan shar­ing a light mo­ment with the me­dia.

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