Hong Kong mobile operator SmarTone has posted an 11% year-on-year rise in consolidated revenues in its fiscal first half ended 31 December 2013, to HKD6.531 billion (USD842 million), as a 24% increase in equipment sales offset a 3% fall in service revenue. Six-month net profit dropped by 32% to HKD311 million, which was attributed to higher operating costs, higher depreciation costs from completion of SmarTone’s 4G LTE network and reduced handset sale margins in an intensely competitive market. SmarTone’s Hong Kong-only mobile customer base reached 1.87 million at end-December 2013, up by 8% year-on-year, while it also reported that ‘just under 40%’ of ‘mobile broadband customers’ (with no definition or figure given) have adopted 4G LTE, with no subscriber figures given for its Macau unit. SmarTone added: ‘Handset models launched in the period have not met with the strong response as in the past and many customers have adopted SIM-only price plans, at lower price points, when their handset-bundled plans expired. This migration has no impact on profitability but has reduced revenue and ARPU. This, together with the increased acquisition of new customers with lower-priced 3G speed-capped plans, reduced fully blended ARPU by 11% to HKD243.’
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