Telenor reaches 15.5m users
Telenor Myanmar has added 1.8 million customers over the past three months, bringing its base to 15.5 million subscribers.
The Norwegian mobile operator now nips at the heels of the Myanmar market’s state-owned incumbent, Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), which in April said it served more than 19 million customers.
Meanwhile, the country’s third operator, Qatari entrant Ooredoo Myanmar, said earlier this year it counted more than 6 million users on its network.
Telenor Myanmar has more than doubled SIM cards sold since the first quarter of 2015, giving it an estimated 38 percent share of the local market, according to the company’s first quarter figures released yesterday. However, its base is growing more slowly than before.
Despite this, the numbers seemed to defy expectations at Telenor’s top level.
“I think I’ve said for many quarters now that this cannot continue, but it does,” said Group CEO Sigve Brekke during the company’s financial results presentation. “One-and-a-half years into operation ... [Telenor Myanmar] is now cash-flow-positive for the first time.”
Telenor Myanmar’s operating cash flow margin came to 10pc, according to the results.
“And despite the aggressive rollout I expect them to be able to stay in the positive territory,” Mr Brekke said.
Meanwhile, the company’s margin on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation – or operating profitability – reached 42pc. Revenues for the quarter came to NOK 1.7 billion (US$211.9 million), up 15pc from Q4 2015 and 124pc from Q1 2015.
Average revenue per user (ARPU) has been decreasing since Q3 2015, down from K6633 to K5692 this past quarter. This trend may reflect Telenor’s further penetration into rural areas.
Mr Brekke said a key strength the company had developed in the Myanmar market was its network. Telenor Myanmar turned on 800 towers in the past three months, bringing its total to 5000 sites – more than halfway to its goal of 9000, with which the firm believes it can effectively provide services to the entire country.
At this point, population coverage comes to 62pc and blankets 90pc of Myanmar’s townships, according to Mr Brekke. More than half of Telenor Myanmar’s customers engage with data regularly, according to the results.