Having long held third place in the Thai mobile market, True Move has pushed into second place in Q1 2017 after the previous number two dtac recorded a poor first quarter.
Dtac’s net profit for Q1 2017 plummeted by 82% year-on-year to THB229 million ($6.64 million), while also seeing decreases in both service revenue and its customer base despite steady data revenue and an increasing number of 4G subscribers. The Telenor-owned operator cited amortisation from its network expansion and higher depreciation as the key causes of its Q1 slump.
For the year ending in March 2017, dtac’s subscribers dropped by almost 1 million to 24.3 million – a fall of 4.5% that reduced its year-on-year market share from 29.3% to 26.2%. True meanwhile increased its share by 3.1%, gaining 4.5 million mobile subscribers year-on-year at the end of the first quarter to bring its total up to 24.8 million, edging slightly ahead of dtac with a market share of 26.5%.
At the end of Q1 dtac had around 5.9 million 4G subscribers – doubling its amount over the past year - representing 24% of its total customer base. By comparison, True’s 10 million 4G subscribers constitute 40% of its base, while AIS – which leads the market with a 45% share – has 11.8 million 4G users, around 28% of its total.
Dtac’s total revenue fell 8.9% to THB19.7 billion, with handset sales dropping 36% to THB2.45 billion, international roaming revenue down 8.7% to THB357 million, and service revenue down by 3.1% in the first quarter to THB17.1 billion. While its data revenue rose by 26% (representing 64% of service revenue) to THB10.4 billion, the firm was still hit hard by a 34% drop in mobile voice revenue and a 28% fall in interconnect revenue.
The operator was able to reduce its capex for the quarter slightly to THB4.5 billion, rolling out 2500 3G and 4G base stations on its 2.1GHz network during this time. These deployments brought its total number of 4G sites to 23,200 at the end of the quarter.