Hong Kong cellco SmarTone, a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties, has posted its financial results for its fiscal first six months ended 31 December 2012, recording a 3% drop in net profit to HKD459.4 million (USD59.2 million), down from HKD475.3 million a year earlier. However, interim revenue grew by 16% year-on-year to HKD5.89 billion from HKD5.06 billion the previous year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) climbed by 9.2% to HKD1.54 billion from HKD1.41 billion, despite local competitors cutting their prices on 4G mobile services and lower roaming revenue. As reported by the South China Morning Post, SmarTone aims to sign up more lower-spending 3G network users to offset the ‘significant’ reduction in international mobile roaming revenue – attributed to sluggish global economies – and tough 4G price competition, with CEO Douglas Li stating that his firm will target ‘customer segments previously underserved by SmarTone.’ Also affecting the bottom line was a significant rise in the costs of depreciation and handset subsidy amortisation during July-December 2012, the company’s report added. SmarTone’s total customer base increased by 7% to 1.74 million at the end of December 2012, boosted by demand from subscribers for its lower-priced, speed-capped 3G voice and data plan, Li said, adding that ‘About 60% of subscriptions during the period represented new customers, while 20% were customers upgrading from lower-priced plans.’
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