SingTel mobile customers hit 232M at end-Dec

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 09 2009 02:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2009 10:57 PM

SINGAPORE - Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) Monday reported a 35 percent increase in regional mobile subscribers despite stiff competition and the global economic crisis.

SingTel's combined regional mobile customer base reached 232 million on December 31, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications firm said.

On a quarterly basis, the increase was 7.3 percent or 16 million customers, it said.

All six of the company's regional mobile associates posted double-digit customer growth, ranging from 13 to 55 percent, compared with a year earlier, SingTel said.

The company has stakes in Thailand's Advanced Info Service (AIS), India's Bharti, Globe Telecom of the Philippines, Indonesia's Telkomsel, Pacific Bangladesh Telecom and Pakistan's Warid Telecom.

Bharti posted the biggest jump in customer numbers among the associates, SingTel said.

Wholly owned Australian subsidiary Optus saw a 9.0 percent rise in its mobile customer base over the year, SingTel said.

In the domestic Singapore market, the company had 2.94 million mobile customers, up 26 percent from the previous year, it said.

SingTel also reported "continued good take-up" of Apple's iPhone 3G, built for high-speed wireless networks.

The company said it now has a domestic 3G subscriber base of 1.14 million, while Optus has 2.33 million. "3G" refers to third-generation mobile networks.

SingTel is expected to report its third-quarter earnings Tuesday.