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StarHub profit tumbles on COVID-19 mobile hit

Singapore operator StarHub recorded sharp declines in profit and mobile revenue in the first quarter, as measures to control the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak slowed subscriber growth, roaming usage and equipment sales.

CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos said its Q1 results reflect the impact of the pandemic and the early softening of the economic environment: “With border controls and movement restrictions, roaming and prepaid revenues have significantly reduced.”

Net profit dropped 25.7 percent year-on-year to SGD40.2 million ($28.3 million). Revenue fell 15.2 percent to SDG506.2 million due to double-digit declines in its mobile, pay-TV and broadband units; while the enterprise business grew 13.9 percent after cybersecurity services revenue more than doubled.

Mobile revenue declined 15 percent to SGD163.5 million, hit by increased price competition resulting in declines in post-paid and prepaid ARPU, lower roaming and prepaid additions. Equipment sales dropped 33.6 percent to SGD101.3 million as fewer premium handsets were sold due to retail store closures and supply disruption.

Falling ARPU

Post-paid subcsribers rose 1.9 percent to 1.47 million, while prepaid fell 11 percent to 704,000. Post-paid ARPU fell 12.6 percent to SGD34 and prepaid slipped 15.4 percent to SGD11.

Average monthly data usage increase to 10.6GB from 6.3GB at end-March 2019.

Capex fell SGD10.4 million to SGD35 million, representing 6.9 percent of total revenue.

The operator predicted the Covid-19 crisis to have a material impact on full year numbers, with revenue declines for most business segments. It withdrew its guidance for 2020, pledging to update shareholders once it has greater visibility.

―Mobile World Live

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