Delivering accelerated low-band rollout along with healthy EBITDA margin amidst challenging business environment

25 October 2021In Q321, dtac delivered customer experience improvement through its low-band network expansion while driving the efficiency programs through network structural transformation and operational excellence for resilient operations delivering a healthy margin.

Sharad Mehrotra, dtac’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are pleased to report sustained momentum in customer experience improvement following our accelerated network rollout. On the 700 MHz, we have over 11,800 base stations and on track to reach 93% population coverage on 4G by year-end. This not only resulted in a further increase in network Net Promoter Score from the previous quarter, but also more 4G usage and signs of ARPU improvement when compared between 700 MHz users and non-700 MHz users, proving that our network investment strategy is effective.

The third quarter has been particularly challenging due to reduced economic activity following COVID-19 related restrictions. Despite this, we pursued our strategy as a customer-centric challenger and have worked to strengthen our portfolio of adjacent services to bring incremental value to our customers. As such, we look into customers’ pain points when offering our services: From high-impact OTT services offered via Direct-Operator-Billing, to different offerings on Jaidee, resulting in growing transactions. In addition, we enhanced our offerings in insurance and gaming to capture the big and growing market opportunities, featuring the introduction of Gaming Nation, a destination platform for all game related offers. With our proposition to cater to the customers’ needs beyond core connectivity, we are driving engagement and fueling growth by capturing the latest market trends. On the operating front, we continue to identify initiatives in operational efficiency to help offset potential cost increase from network expansion and achieve savings on a sustainable basis.”

At the end of Q321, total subscriber base stood at 19.3 million, a 26,000 gain QoQ and over 400,000 gain YTD. Service revenues excluding IC declined at 2.1% QoQ and 2.8% YoY. EBITDA for Q321 amounted to THB 7,443 million, a 7.7% QoQ and 4.0% YoY reduction. EBITDA margin (normalized) was at 47.5% in Q321. Net profit for Q321 amounted to THB 832 million.

Nakul Sehgal, dtac’s Chief Financial Officer, said, “Our net addition of customers remained positive despite shop closure and restrictions related to COVID-19. We maintained strong momentum on cost management, as a result of which our efficiency programs that range from network structural transformation to IT/network operational excellence, witnessed a decline in network expense YoY amidst our accelerated expansion. Meanwhile, our normalized EBITDA margin remained at a healthy level of 47.5%.”

With impact from the escalated COVID-19 situation in most of Q321, the Company expects to deliver the lower end of FY2021 guidance on service revenue excluding IC and EBITDA. That is, service revenue ex. IC at low single-digit decline, EBITDA at flat, while capital expenditure level is maintained at THB 13-15 billion.


Key financial indicators in Q321 (post-TFRS 15 & 16)

  • Service revenue excluding IC: THB 13,978 million, declining 2.1% QoQ and 2.8% YoY
  • EBITDA: THB 7,443 million, declining 7.7% QoQ and 4.0% YoY
  • EBITDA margin (normalized): 47.5%
  • Net profit: THB 832 million