Fixed line, broadband and mobile operator Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) released its Company and Group financial results for the nine months ending 30 September 2018, reporting strong profits, higher revenues and lower costs, but noted that foreign exchange losses served to reduce earnings. The Group, which comprises the holding company Sri Lanka Telecom (PLC) and its eight subsidiaries including mobile arm Mobitel, reported ‘impressive’ year-on-year profit growth of 23.4% to LKR3.99 billion (USD22.2 million) for 9M18, driven by strong revenue growth from all areas. Group revenue improved 6.6% y-o-y to LKR60.1 billion, while nine-month EBITDA climbed 15.8% to LKR18.7 billion; EBITDA margin was 31.1%. Group net profit, however, was impacted by a forex loss of LKR1.1 billion in the period under review, reducing the final figure to LKR5.1 billion. Nevertheless, Group Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena said he was pleased with the healthy growth rate, noting: ‘Despite the challenges in the economy we have been able to achieve a significant level of growth through strategic investments and strategic decision making of the Group. Being the pioneer and national telecommunications service provider in Sri Lanka, we strongly believe that we have contributed positively to the economic development and overall growth of telecommunication services in the country.’
Meanwhile, the holding Company SLT reported y-o-y net profit growth of 75% to LKR1.3 billion during the first nine months of 2018, as it continued to grow its revenue through sizeable investment programmes to expand infrastructure facilities in order to provide advanced services such as FTTH and LTE. Holding Company chief operating officer Priyantha Fernandez noted: ‘We continue to focus on operational excellence in all segments whilst improving customer experience through strong regional structure spread across the country. Therefore, we are well poised to serve the diverse requirements of our customers.’ SLT’s mobile subsidiary Mobitel continued to grow its revenue and key profitability indicators despite what SLT termed ‘challenging macroeconomic environment and intensifying competition in the market’. The mobile arm was able to record growth in EBITDA and EBIT for the first nine months of 2018, up by 10% and 16% respectively, which it said was supported by ‘operational efficiencies’. 9M 2018 net profit was recorded at LKR2.5 billion compared to LKR2.5 billion in 9M 2017.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month Mobitel used the platform of the Techno 2018 exhibition to demonstrate 5G technology, showing the public its next generation mobile technology using 5G Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) utilising a 64×64 MIMO configuration and operating in the 3.5GHz band. The demo made use of ‘commercially available user devices and commercially available network equipment, dispelling doubts over its short-term viability, and thereby leading Sri Lanka’s progress ahead of many technology advanced nations worldwide.’ The trials also showcased voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi), while it notes that it now hopes to become the first mobile operator in Sri Lanka to introduce 5G commercially, although it stopped short of providing a possible launch date.