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M'sian telcos to keep growing despite high mobile-phone penetration

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission says a 133.3% penetration rate equals almost 38.5 million mobile-phone subscribers in the country as of the second quarter this year.

Publication Date : 29-10-2012

 

Continued growth in Malaysia’s telecommunication industry is expected despite its already registering a mobile telephone penetration rate of 133.3 per cent per 100 inhabitants and having passed the critical mass' stage.

MIDF Research's telecommunications analyst Imran Yassin Md Yusof said growth was expected due to several factors, including the possible growth of the prepaid segment at the expense of postpaid, growth in the international direct dialling segment and the increase use of mobile phones by migrant workers in the country.

Regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) stated in their latest publicly available statistics that a 133.3 per cent penetration rate equals to almost 38.5 million mobile phone subscribers in the country as of the second quarter of this year.

Year-on-year (y-o-y) pretax profit growth in latest reported financial quarter was still seen in DiGi.com Bhd (with 2 per cent in the third quarter ended September 30), Axiata Group Bhd's performance was almost flat for the second quarter in the financial year ending December 31 while Maxis recorded a fall of 16.77 per cent in pretax profit in its second quarter for the financial year ending December 31.

DiGi.com registered an almost 8 per cent growth in its y-o-y net profit for the latest third quarter for the financial year ending December 31.
Axiata recorded its second quarter net profit 666.64 million ringgit (US$219.29 million) from 663.05 million ringgit in the corresponding period a year ago while Maxis saw a dip of 16 per cent in second quarter net profit to 464 million ringgit.

It is to be noted that apart from DiGi.com, both Axiata and Maxis have not yet reported their third quarter financial results.

Fund managers and analysts say that the pending third quarter results for both Maxis and Axiata will be keenly watched by the market for a hint on how the industry is really performing.

Despite the mixed pretax and net profit performances seen, y-o-y revenue growth meanwhile was still seen in all three telcos in their latest reported quarterly financial results indicating that the industry was still registering solid growth performance despite operating in a saturated industry market space.

Data services, which has seen formidable growth so far, with all three telco players are touted to be the next driver of revenue on the backdrop of declining voice usage as people demand more privacy and less intrusion in today's modern urbanised society.

On this matter, DiGi.com chief executive officer Henrik Clausen earlier told StarBiz that he foresaw that all of its mobile customers would soon be Internet users moving forward from about 50 per cent of its customers today.

DiGi, in which Norwegian telephone operator Telenor has a controlling stake, is gearing up to be the first of the latter's Asian operations to launch the much awaited LTE (long term evolution or also known as 4G) which will provide the much needed bandwidth and infrastructure to support future smartphones and tablet devices such as the iPhone 5.

Industry representatives from all three telcos spoke to StarBiz and said that despite the Government not yet awarding the final licence to commercially operate LTE, they are hoping that the matter would be decided by the government as soon as possible.

“Countries in the developed west are already able to provide LTE services to cater for the modern mobile internet smartphones today, what happened to us here in Malaysia?

“We seem to be lagging behind,” said a representative from one of the two biggest mobile phone operators by subscribers in Malaysia.

Earlier reports had stated that the MCMC had named several companies including all the three telcos as recipients of the 2.6GHz spectrum band.

Operating services on this spectrum requires a licence from the government for the telcos to utilise and provide LTE services (2.6GHz) to its customers at large.

*US$1=3.04 ringgit

 

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