In the first three months of 2014, Thailand’s second largest cellco DTAC reported an overall net increase in its mobile subscribers of 284,000 to reach 28.2 million users at the end of March, while among the total base it saw a rapid increase in 3G 2100MHz network users – reaching 15.9 million and representing 56% of the company’s subscriber base. Aggressive 3G 2100MHz network expansion progressed ahead of schedule in the first quarter, with a total of more than 8,600 cell sites deployed in all 77 provinces of Thailand, covering approximately 72% of the population by the end of Q1 2014, and DTAC revealed the ambition of completing its entire 2100MHz co-located sites rollout by mid-2014. Meanwhile, it initiated a trial 4G LTE 2100MHz network in Bangkok during the quarter.
DTAC’s service revenue excluding interconnection fell slightly, by 0.3% year-on-year to THB17.334 billion (USD535 million) in the three months ended 31 March 2014 amidst ‘challenging market competition’, with mobile internet continuing to be a key growth driver for service revenue, growing 48% y-o-y. EBITDA rose 10.4% y-o-y to THB8.256 billion, driving up the EBITDA margin by 5.3 percentage points to 36.6%. Key contributors to the EBITDA growth were lower regulatory costs and operational efficiency achieved in Q1 2014. Net income was THB3.304 billion, an improvement of 9.1% compared to the same quarter of 2013, driven by rising EBITDA despite higher depreciation and amortisation costs from the heavy 3G 2100MHz investment.