AIS reports Q3 revenue decline on pandemic

AIS reports Q3 revenue decline on pandemic

Advanced Info Service (AIS), the country's biggest mobile operator by subscribers, reported third-quarter revenue of 41.7 billion baht, down 1.3% quarterly and 6.7% year-on-year, weighed down by the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

The listed company booked a net profit of 6.7 billion baht in the third quarter, a decline of 6.5% from the same period a year earlier.

In the mobile business, AIS still has the highest number of subscribers at 40.9 million users, including 31.2 million prepaid users.

In the third quarter, the number of prepaid customers dropped by 313,000 to 31.2 million and postpaid subscribers rose by 235,000 to 9.7 million.

According to AIS's statement, such figures mainly are a result of the pandemic battering the economy since the first quarter.

"The pandemic and global economic downturn were the two dominating threats affecting Thailand's businesses, as evident in weak purchasing power and the loss of foreign tourists," AIS said.

The company said its net profit was considered "stable", with the exclusion of exchange rate loss.

According to AIS, the company's financial position remained healthy, with adequate operating cash flow to pay for telecom licence fees and support 5G and 4G network expansion.

Data consumption averaged 17.2 gigabytes per month, up 1.3% from the second quarter. The number of 4G customers has reached 76% of the company's total customer base.

For home internet service AIS Fibre, 53,000 new subscribers were added in the third quarter, totalling 1.26 million.

AIS Fibre revenue surged 21% year-on-year to 1.7 billion baht.

The company said it expected AIS Fibre subscriber numbers to reach 1.3 million by the end of this year.

AIS said its cash flow totalled 65 billion baht from operations the first nine months, giving the firm options to proceed with the 2020 investment budget of 35 billion baht.

"The return on 5G investment this year is not for the short term, but rather the long term to strengthen Thailand's competitiveness and attract foreign investors," said AIS chief executive Somchai Lertsutiwong.

"At least two more years may be needed to reach mass scale due to three main factors: network quality, 5G-enabled mobile devices at reasonable prices and mobile applications compatible with 5G and proven to benefit specific groups of users."

In October, AIS launched fully commercial 5G services nationwide. It also rolled out Thailand's first 5G packages.

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