Sustained recovery alongside measurable improvement in customer experience

30 April 2021Total Access Communication PLC., or dtac, reported another quarter of positive subscriber net-adds and a return to stabilized service revenues following four consecutive quarters of loss due to the impact of the pandemic. The Company’s continued focus on the Thai mass market yielded encouraging signs of sustained recovery while the new 700 MHz spectrum, with its accelerated rollout plan, drove clear improvement in customer experience.

Sharad Mehrotra, dtac’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are pleased to see early signs of recovery despite the ongoing pandemic. Thanks to the aggressive rollout of the 700MHz network, which already covers two-thirds of the population, our customers are experiencing improved network coverage and capacity. In addition, we can now offer 5G services in six major cities and will expand 5G capability to more sites in high-traffic areas throughout 2021. We continue to explore 5G use cases on the mmWave spectrum, in collaboration with various industry partners.

As a customer-centric challenger, our priority remains to deliver high-speed experience through continued investments in our network. Furthermore, we see good traction from our modernization journey, aimed at accelerating digital transformation and organizational simplification. In addition to the core growth area, we are confident in our approach on structural efficiencies through a number of identifiable initiatives throughout this year.”

At the end of Q121, total subscriber base stood at 19.1 million, a 229,000 gain QoQ from sustained recovery and following dtac’s focus on the Thai mass market. Service revenues excluding IC stabilized at 0.5% QoQ and declined 7.7% YoY, while core service revenues declined slightly at 0.7% QoQ and 6.5% YoY. EBITDA for Q121 amounted to THB 7,477 million, a 12.2% QoQ increase and 2.5% YoY decrease. EBITDA margin (normalized) was at 43.9% in Q121, increasing from 38.5% in Q420 and from 43.7% in Q120 as a result of structural efficiencies. Net profit for Q121 amounted to THB 822 million.

Nakul Sehgal, dtac’s Chief Financial Officer, said, “Along with continued net addition of customers, our service revenue stabilized for the first time after four consecutive quarters of loss. This was a result of our effective recovery plan following our focus on Thai mass market coupled with favorable impact from the government stimulus programs. Our sustained effort on structural efficiencies resulted in lower network OPEX QoQ and YoY and well-controlled selling, general and administrative expense (SG&A). In Q121, we accelerated our capital investments to ensure speedy delivery of improved customer experience. Our financial discipline resulted in healthy EBITDA margin while our strategic network investment yielded measurable customer experience improvement.”

dtac revised guidance for 2021 on service revenue excluding IC from low single-digit decline to flat to low single-digit decline, on EBITDA from low single-digit decline to flat to low single-digit growth and maintained capital expenditure level at THB 13-15 billion.

Key financial indicators in Q121 (post-TFRS 15 & 16)

  • Service revenue excluding IC – THB 14,149 million, increasing 0.5% QoQ and declining 7.7% YoY
  • EBITDA – THB 7,477 million, increasing 12.2% QoQ and declining 2.5% YoY
  • EBITDA margin (normalized) – 43.9%
  • Net profit – THB 822 million