Advanced Info Service (AIS), Thailand’s leading mobile operator by subscribers and revenue, has reported a 4% year-on-year rise in quarterly net profit for the October-December 2013 period, boosted by higher non-voice revenue and lower tax expenses, Reuters reports. Net income of THB8.8 billion (USD268 million) in Q4 2013 was up from THB8.46 billion a year earlier, while for full-year 2013, AIS also posted a 4% increase in its bottom line to THB36.3 billion. Annual voice revenue fell 3.5% while non-voice revenue climbed 24%, and blended service revenue (excluding equipment sales) rose by 4% in the year, as total revenues improved by less than 1% to THB142.78 billion, according to its financial statement. AIS aims to raise service revenue growth to between 6% and 8% in FY2014. The Thai operator, backed by investment from Singapore, has raised its CAPEX budget for 2014 to accelerate 3G network expansion to further enhance non-voice service revenue to offset voice segment stagnation, predicting CAPEX of THB40 billion compared to THB28 billion in 2013, as it accelerates a plan to deploy 20,000 3G 2100MHz base stations (up from from 13,200 at end-2013) covering 95% of the population by end-2014, bringing forward its original end-2015 target. The cellco noted: ‘With the lack of voice growth due to gloomy economic outlook and saturated market, revenue … depends more on rising adoption of smartphone users.’
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