Te­lenor posts higher rev­enues

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - STEVE GIL­MORE s.gil­more@mm­times.com

De­spite fac­ing in­creased com­pe­ti­tion and see­ing sub­scrip­tion growth slow, Nor­we­gian firm Te­lenor’s Myan­mar op­er­a­tions have al­ready posted higher rev­enues this year than all of 2015.

TE­LENOR is fac­ing “tough com­pe­ti­tion” in Myan­mar, the group’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Sigve Brekke said in a re­sults pre­sen­ta­tion yes­ter­day. The Nor­we­gian firm is see­ing sub­scrip­tions growth in the coun­try slow, but its Myan­mar op­er­a­tions have still posted higher rev­enues so far in 2016 than in the whole of the pre­vi­ous year.

“We’ve seen that [tough com­pe­ti­tion] for the last three quar­ters,” Mr Brekke said. “We see very ag­gres­sive pro­mo­tions on on-net traf­fic, but also on data pric­ing.”

Te­lenor com­petes with Qatari firm Oore­doo and state-owned firm MPT in the Myan­mar tele­coms mar­ket, and a fourth op­er­a­tor now being formed is ex­pected to start its op­er­a­tions next year.

The Nor­we­gian telco added 927,000 new Myan­mar sub­scrip­tions be­tween July and Septem­ber to take its to­tal sub­scriber base to 17.8 mil­lion. The rise in sub­scrip­tions along with higher data us­age pro­vided a 17 per­cent growth in lo­cal cur­rency rev­enue, partly off­set by com­pe­ti­tion on prices, the firm said.

But the rate at which the mo­bile op­er­a­tor is adding new sub­scrip­tions is fall­ing – it added 1.9 mil­lion in the fi­nal quar­ter of 2015, and 1.4 mil­lion in the pre­vi­ous quar­ter of this year.

Mr Brekke said Te­lenor was con­tin­u­ing to build out its net­work, pass­ing 100,000 point of sales in the coun­try and adding another 700 net­work sites to in­crease its cov­er­age from 78 per­cent to 82 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion. The firm rolled out 4G cov­er­age this year, and now has 108 4G sites across Nay Pyi Taw.

Te­lenor is “ea­gerly await­ing more 1800 [mega­hertz] spec­trum to come out to the mar­ket so we can in­crease our 4G po­si­tion,” Mr Brekke said. The gov­ern­ment is plan­ning a 1800MHz auc­tion in the first quar­ter of next year, at which MPT and Oordeoo are also ex­pected to bid.

Al­though Te­lenor’s sub­scrip­tion growth is slow­ing, to­tal third-quar­ter rev­enue from the com­pany’s Myan­mar arm was Nkr1.7 bil­lion (K183 bil­lion; US$145.1 mil­lion), up from Nkr1.4 bil­lion in the same quar­ter of 2015. Myan­mar rev­enues for the first three-quar­ters of this year were Nkr5.2 bil­lion, higher than the Nkr4.8 bil­lion across the whole of 2015.

The ex­change rate be­tween the Myan­mar kyat and Nor­we­gian krone has shifted only slightly from 0.0070 kyat to the krone in the first three­quar­ters of 2015 to 0.0069 in the first three quar­ters of this year, ac­cord­ing to Te­lenor.

Myan­mar op­er­at­ing prof­its were down slightly year-on-year for the third quar­ter, but again the to­tal op­er­at­ing profit for the first three quar­ters – Nkr1.6 bil­lion – was greater than the full-year fig­ure for 2015.

Te­lenor’s ex­pan­sion into ru­ral ar­eas, how­ever, has seen its av­er­age rev­enue per user (APRU) drop. The APRU for Myan­mar was down year-on-year, from Nkr44 in the third quar­ter of 2015 to Nkr33 in this year’s third quar­ter.

“APRU in lo­cal cur­rency de­creased by 28pc, due to in­creased pen­e­tra­tion in ru­ral ar­eas and tougher com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment,” the firm said.

But the over­all growth in Te­lenor’s Myan­mar op­er­a­tion was one the key driv­ers of a rise in the group’s to­tal third-quar­ter rev­enues, along with higher along APRU in Bangladesh and Pak­istan, the firm said. Lower roam­ing rev­enues in Scan­di­navia and “in­tense com­pe­ti­tion” in Malaysia and Thai­land off­set some of the ben­e­fits, it added.

Myan­mar was also largely re­spon­si­ble for a Nkr2.1 bil­lion rise in the Te­lenor group’s op­er­at­ing ex­penses yearto-date, ac­cord­ing to the pre­sen­ta­tion. Cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture in the third quar­ter was Nkr5.2 bil­lion, driven pri­mar­ily by 3G and 4G net­work ex­pan­sion in Thai­land, Nor­way and Myan­mar.

Photo: Sup­plied

The Te­lenor logo hangs over a store in down­town Gothen­burg’s cen­tral sta­tion.

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