dtac records a resilient performance in 2021 led by accelerated network deployment, improved subscriber growth and structural efficiency initiatives

28 January 2022Total Access Communication PLC., or dtac, reported a fourth consecutive quarter of subscriber growth for 2021 despite tough macroeconomic conditions and aggressive competition. The company’s favorable operational and financial performance is the result of ongoing network experience improvements, structural efficiency initiatives and clearly differentiated value propositions in the digital space.  

Sharad Mehrotra, dtac’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “In 2021, we achieved subscriber growth every quarter, resulting in 704,000 net adds. Our accelerated network rollout markedly improved the customer experience, reaching our year-end target of 93% population coverage with over 12,700 base stations on the 700 MHz spectrum band. This led to a 4.8-percentage-point improvement year over year in 4G usage along with ongoing improvement in average revenue per user for customers on 700 MHz compared to those who are not. Additionally, the network’s full year net promoter score improved by 23 points as network complaints continued to decline.”

Mr. Mehrotra added that dtac’s position as a “customer-centric challenger” delivered additional value to customers with a portfolio of customized offerings and adjacent services, along with digital transformation in customer- and retailer-facing channels. As a result, users of dtac’s digital channels grew to 6.7 million at the end of 2021, a growth of 20% year over year.

“Having created multiple partnerships in 5G and the internet of things, we have been able to help empower smaller businesses with innovative solutions, leading to year over year growth in business users and revenue. In our adjacent services portfolio, we continue to offer high-impact services, such as an aggregated insurance platform and gaming platforms, all of which have grown in revenues, engagement and users,” Mr. Mehrotra said.

dtac’s CEO also announced that efficiencies via structural initiatives led us to another year of sustainable savings. “While operational efficiency will remain a key focus area, we will continue to explore additional initiatives to enable future growth,” he said.

At the end of fourth-quarter 2021, total subscriber base stood at 19.6 million, an increase of 286,000 quarter over quarter and over 700,000 from the end of 2020. Service revenues (excluding interconnection charges) marginally improved by 0.1% quarter over quarter and declined by 0.6% year over year. EBITDA for fourth-quarter 2021 amounted to THB 7.004 billion, a 5.9% quarter over quarter decline and 5.1% year over year increase. EBITDA margin (normalized) was at 38.9% in fourth-quarter 2021. Net profit for fourth-quarter 2021 amounted to THB 171 million.

Nakul Sehgal, dtac’s Chief Financial Officer, said, “Towards the end of 2021, we witnessed slow recovery of the macroeconomic situation as many COVID-19 related restrictions were lifted. Adopting a more targeted regional approach in market execution, dtac was able to achieve healthy subscriber net adds. Net profit for the fourth quarter was negatively impacted due to a one-time asset write-off, pursuant to surrender of rental space on leased towers which is expected to yield cash flow benefits in the coming years. In the fourth quarter, EBITDA declined by 5.9% due to seasonal sales and marketing expenses. However, full year EBTIDA remained flat driven by strong management of costs. Our normalized EBITDA margin remained at a healthy level of 38.9%.”

For its FY2022 outlook, dtac expects to deliver flat to low single-digit growth in both service revenue (excluding IC) and EBITDA, along with capital expenditure levels between THB 12-14 billion.

Key financial indicators in 2021 (post-TFRS 15 & 16)

  • Service revenue excluding IC – THB 57.8 billion, declining 3.6 YoY
  • EBITDA – THB 29.9 billion, declining 0.7 YoY
  • EBITDA margin (normalized) – 44.6%
  • Net profit – THB 3,356 million