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One of Thailand’s biggest telecom companies, Dtac, has reported a record 90% slump in net profit for the second quarter of the year, reports Retail News Asia.

Net profit for the quarter fell to $4 million (141 million baht). The company’s total subscriber base shrank by 524,000 to 25 million, with prepaid subscribers falling by 715,000.

However, postpaid net additions increased by 77%.

In its quarterly report, Dtac blamed the weak performance on competitors’ aggressive subscriber acquisition activities, especially through strong distribution channels.

In response to the decline, Dtac has re-introduced prepaid handset subsidies and launched new Dtac prepaid branded SIMs, targeting data-orientated users.

Dtac’s 4G user base meanwhile increased from 2.9 million in Q1 to 3.5 million in Q2, and the operator aims to grow this to 6 million by the end of the year.

Dtac warned it expects intense market competition to continue into the second half. As a result, the company expects service revenues to slightly decline from the previous year.

A version of this appeared in Retail News Asia on July 14. Read the full version here.

4G launches in Burma

Burma’s increased demand for mobile data is facilitating competition among telcos. Source: globalizationinburma.weebly.com

Competition among telecom players in Burma is heating up as two foreign players launched 4G services to match the increasing data demand in the developing country, reports The Nation.

Telenor Myanmar launched a 4G service in Nay Pyi Taw two months after Ooredoo Myanmar launched their 4G service in the capital city along with Yangon and Madalay.

According to the Ericsson Mobility Report 2016, only 5% of mobile subscriptions in Southeast Asia were 4G, but the figure is set to increase to more than 40% by 2021.

There is now an increasing demand for faster networks in the country, with plans to introduce other 4G services with high voice definition in the future.

“To provide high speed 4G services all over the country, Telenor will need more spectrum. Telenor is looking forward to participating in the spectrum auctions planned by the Union Government later this year. Due to explosive growth of data and increasing data demand by the Myanmar people we believe it is urgently required to expand our services to 4G all over Myanmar.” Petter Furberg, the outgoing chief executive officer of Telenor Myanmar.

Telenor claims to be Myanmar’s largest network with more than 5,700 towers and 16 million customers. Over 60% of its customers are data users.

Its competitor, Ooredoo, states that its penetration rate is at 85%, with a goal to be the best data network in the country. It has extended its fibre optic network to 7,700 km with plans for more expansion by the end of this year. Ooredoo has already invested $1.7 billion to develop 4G in Myanmar.

The company promises to keep 4G price the same as with 3G and customers can enjoy free calls and use Facebook at the price of $0.003 (3 kyats) per megabyte.

As more civilians become tech-savvy, it becomes necessary for broadband networks to be faster in Myanmar. This makes Burma a golden opportunity for more telecom companies, local and foreign, to emerge in the market.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on July 11. Read the full version here.

Mobile economy report for Asia pacific in 2016

Asia is mobile first. Source: asia.nikkei

The number of mobile subscribers in the Asia Pacific region will grow to 3.1 billion by 2020, up from 2.5 billion at the end of 2015 according to GSMA study, The Mobile Economy: Asia Pacific 2016, reports Digital News Asia.

Highlights from The Mobile Economy 2016

  • 62% of the region’s population was subscribed to a mobile service in 2015
  • Mobile ecosystem adds $1.3 trillion in economic value to APAC economy
  • The four largest markets in the region are China, India, Indonesia and Japan accounting for more than 75% of the region’s total subscriber base
  • Calculation shows that mobile technologies and services made up 5.4% of Asia Pacific’s GDP. This is set to increase to $1.7 trillion by 2020
  • Mobile broadband (3G/4G) accounted for 45% of total mobile connections in Asia Pacific in 2015
  • Mobile broadband’s contribution to total mobile connection is expected to rise to 70% by 2020. This is partly due to operators’ investments in 4G network build-outs
  • 4G is on track to account for more than a third of total connections in Asia Pacific by 2020

Over half of the world’s mobile subscribers are in the Asia Pacific, and this region will be the main engine of global subscriber growth for the decade.

Rising mobile subscriber penetration and acceleration to faster networks is fueling innovation across both advanced and emerging markets in this diverse region. Mobile connectivity is helping Asia build digital societies that allow people to have all access to services, anytime and anywhere. This factor is driving a lot of economic and social development among the Asian demographic.

China, India and Indonesia have been the main drivers of smartphone growth, helping the region double its overall smartphone base over the past 2 years.

Smaller countries in the region such as Indonesia and Myanmar will also make major contributions to subscriber growth.

As Asia Pacific mobile industry’s economy value is expected to rise to $1.7 trillion by 2020, it has become a major growth contributor for the economy. Not only will this create a wealth of opportunities for the region and employment opportunities, social and developmental services will also accelerate.

To fully utilize this potential, the mobile industry must work with regulators and ecosystem players to break the region’s multiple barriers, such as the lack of locally relevant content and affordability.

A version of this article appeared in Digital News Asia on June 6. Read the full article here.