Hong Kong cellco SmarTone has reported a net profit of HKD321 million (USD41 million) for the six months ended 31 December 2010, up from HKD111 million a year earlier, on total revenues that increased by 52% year-on-year to HKD2.76 billion, with 29% growth in service revenue. The upsurge in earnings was driven by strong growth in both customer volume and ARPU, helping the company’s EBITDA for its fiscal first half-year rise by 78% to HKD921 million. Customer numbers increased by 17% year-on-year in a very competitive market to reach 1.44 million at end-December 2010, of which over 70% were post-paid. Average post-paid churn rate improved to 1.3% from 1.5% in the same period of 2009, whilst blended monthly ARPU increased by 12% to HKD241, driven principally by data services. Post-paid ARPU registered an increase of 16%. Data service revenue increased by 81%, and represented 46% of service revenue in July-December 2010, driven by increasing customer adoption of smartphone-based data services, mobile broadband including access via tablet computers, and wireless fixed broadband delivered over SmarTone’s cellular 3.5G network.
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