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SingTel's Asia mobile phone users top 249 million

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) reported Wednesday a 35 percent annual increase in regional mobile phone subscribers despite the global economic downturn.

Southeast Asia's biggest telecom firm said 64 million new mobile phone customers were added, raising the SingTel Group's mobile subscriber base to 249.39 million as of March 31.

On a quarterly basis, the increase was 7.3 percent from 232.42 million as of December 31 last year.

SingTel's aggregate mobile customer base in Singapore and six regional markets posted year-on-year growths of between 10 and 52 percent, led by India's Bharti Telecom.

Bharti, where SingTel owns a 30.44 percent stake, saw customer numbers jump 52 percent from a year ago to 93.9 million.

Indonesia's Telkomsel, in which SingTel owns a 35 percent stake, grew its mobile client base by 41 percent to 72.13 million.

The client base of Thailand's AIS rose 10 percent to 27.58 million, while Globe Telecom of the Philippines reported a 21 percent increase to 25.74 million users. SingTel owns 21.35 percent of AIS and 47.34 percent of Globe.

Pakistan's Warid Telecom, in which SingTel owns 30 percent, expanded its mobile client base by 21 percent to 17.38 million, while Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd (PBTL) saw subscribers rise 20 percent to 1.87 million.

SingTel owns 45 percent of the Bangladesh telecom firm.

In Singapore, SingTel signed up 405,000 new mobile phone customers, or 16 percent, from a year ago despite tough competition to remain the domestic leader with a 46.4 percent market share.

SingTel's wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, Optus, saw its mobile customer base grow 9.1 percent from a year ago to 7.79 million.

SingTel will report its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday. Third quarter net profit tumbled 16.1 percent year-on-year to 799 million Singapore dollars (549 million US).

Copyright 2009 AFP Asian Edition
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Asian Edition
Date:May 13, 2009
Words:289
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