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12 May 2010

Singapore’s telecom giant expects to draw 293 million users in Asia

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Singapore Telecom (SingTel) announced Wednesday a rise in user numbers across its wide-ranging Asian mobile phone operations to 293 million by the end of March, up 17 percent from a year ago, according to an AFP report.

The rise was driven by customer growth among its regional associates and its wholly owned Australian subsidiary Optus, the company said in a statement.

Among SingTel's six regional associates, Indonesia's Telkomsel added 9.8 million customers in the quarter to March, bringing its total subscriber base to 82 million. SingTel owns 35 per cent of the firm, which is Indonesia's largest mobile operator.

India's Bharti, in which SingTel has a 32 per cent stake, signed up 8.8 million new users as its mobile subscriber base climbed to 127.6 million.

New sign-ups were also recorded by Thailand's Advance Info Service (AIS), Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd and Pakistan's Warid Telecom -- companies in which SingTel owns strategic stakes ranging from 21.35 per cent to 47.34 per cent.

Optus added 254,000 new customers in the March quarter, its strongest quarterly performance in five years, raising its total mobile base to 8.5 million, SingTel said.

At home, the company saw its customer base rise 4.7 per cent from the previous year to 3.1 million users for a 45.2 per cent market share.

SingTel will release its earnings for the fourth quarter ended March on Thursday. It reported a 24 per cent on-year jump in net profit in the three months to December.


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