Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel), South-East Asia’s biggest telecoms group by revenues and users, today announced that its total mobile subscriber base grew by 37%, or 110 million users, in the year to 31 March 2011, passing the 400 million customer mark for the first time in the process. At that date SingTel and its affiliates in Asia and Africa counted 402.5 million mobile subscribers, up from around 293 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. The group is active in eight major markets in the region – Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. SingTel’s 32%-owned Indian venture, Bharti Airtel, reported a 66% year-on-year rise in mobile customers in Asia and Africa to reach 212 million as of 31 March 2011. In its home market, Bharti added a net 27% new users for a total of 162 million. The cellco’s strong performance should be further bolstered in 2011 by the launch of 3G services in 21 cities across seven telecom circles in the first quarter, it said.
SingTel’s Indonesian asset Telkomsel added 5.4 million net new users in 1Q11 for a total of 99.4 million, while AIS Thailand, in which SingTel holds 21%, reported y-o-y growth of 8% to 32 million. Other positive performances were registered in the Philippines where Globe recorded 14% net growth to 27.3 million subscribers in Pakistan, where Warid’s base climbed 9% to 17.8 million, and in Bangladesh, where PBTL closed out March with 1.8 million users (up 6% from a year ago). SingTel’s wholly owned Australian unit Optus added 103,000 net new users in January-March, for a total of 9.068 million, and at home, SingTel Mobile had 3.307 million users, compared to 3.116 million in 1Q10.