Optus grows its mobile base

Prepaid and postpaid additions contribute 131,000 new services in the year to 30 September 2011

Optus has grown its mobile customer base to 9.23 million as at 30 September 2011, up 131,000 or four per cent year on year.

In a statement to the ASX, parent company SingTel (ASX: SGT) said Optus had continued its customer growth momentum with net postpaid additions of 116,000 from a quarter ago, with its post-paid customer base now exceeding five million.

SingTel said postpaid customers comprised 54 per cent of the total Optus base, up four per cent from a year ago.

“Prepaid customers returned to growth this quarter with net additions of 15,000 as sales lifted and the churn rates on ‘International Calls for Less’ plans improved,” the statement reads.

“The number of 3G customers increased to 5.96 million, a 13 per cent increase from a quarter ago. This included a base of 1.46 wireless broadband customers, an increase of approximately 94,000 customers from a quarter a go.”

Optus also said its operating revenue in the last quarter was up one percent, while its EBITDA increased one per cent to $A559 million. Net profit for the quarter grew four per cent to $A182 million. Total mobile revenue was $A1.51 billion.

SingTel also noted that Optus had expanded its suite of integrated business tools via its Optus OfficeApps Mobile Security cloud-based mobile security service. It had also reached a milestone with the roll out of LTE on the Optus Open Network.

Parent company SingTel (ASX: SGT) said the group’s total mobile customer base increased 15 per cent or 56 million from a year ago to reach 424 million as at 30 September 2011.

Earlier this week SingTel said it planned to pay up to S$328 million ($249.5 million) to increase its holding in Thai telecom operator AIS.

SingTel on Monday said that its subsidiary SingTel Strategic Investments has arranged to buy an extra 2.05 per cent in AIS.

The deal, which remains subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, would take the group's total holding to 23.32 per cent.

Optus competitor VHA also this announced its plans to improve its customer service and support after its poor performance in mobile phone services over the past year.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) also said that for all the talk of reforming telecommunications customer service in the past year, almost 200,000 new consumer complaints were received by the office of in the last 12 months.

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