By The Nation
The expansion into the enterprise segment was strongly focused, led by CSL (previously CS Loxinfo) and 5G use cases continued to be conducted across the country. AIS reiterated a dividend policy of minimum 70 per cent of net profit and has announced it will pay an interim dividend of Bt3.78 per share on September 3.
“Today, not only telecom companies but also other businesses need to transform themselves to cope with digital disruption. Key elements including professionalism, planning, and employee competency are crucial to sustaining the impact from external forces. In the second quarter, AIS continued to work relentlessly to ensure that we could deliver best products and services to our customers. We always look for new opportunities in digital businesses and collaborate with other industries while maintaining good rapport with every stakeholder,” said chief executive Somchai Lertsuthiwong.
AIS reported continued growth in revenue and profit with total revenue increasing 5.8 per cent over last year. The improving competition in mobile market resulted in its ARPU (Average Revenue per User) rising to Bt263 Baht/month. The overall mobile business grew 5.3 per cent compared to last year with AIS securing its leadership by owning 41.5 million mobile numbers nationwide. 4G users were recorded at 66 per cent of total subscriber base while data usage rose from 8.9 gigabytes last year to 11.5 gigabytes in the second quarter.
AIS Fibre performed well with 26-per-cent revenue growth as a result of a superior network and excellent service. More importantly, AIS strategy in Fixed-Mobile Convergence attracted quality customers with total subscribers now standing at 855,400 and coverage present in 57 key cities. AIS Fibre is maintaining its target to achieve 1 million subscribers this year. In summary, with ongoing cost control, AIS posted a net profit in 2Q19 of Bt8,234 million (excluding one-time item), growing 2.9 per cent from last year and 8.1 per cent from last quarter. The given guidance of mid-single digit revenue growth for the full year was maintained and an EBITDA margin remained stable from last year (around 42-4 per cent) with targeted investment of Bt20 billion to Bt25 billion to enhance 4G and fixed broadband.
In addition, AIS has been putting crucial elements in places in preparation for 5G technology. These include:
1) Enhancing competency in 5G technology through collaborations with multiple partners including government agencies, companies, and educational institutes across the country for further researches and trials.
2) Allocating 700MHz spectrum license for 5G development. This operation will be able to start in October 2020. The 700MHz spectrum, a low-frequency bandwidth, is a standard 5G band that inherits outstanding wide coverage. This is expected to support the success of 5G services in the next 2-3 years.
3) Expanding into enterprise market as a result of the synergy between AIS Business and CSL, which holds expertise in becoming a one-stop and full-scale ICT service provider. The focus is on 3S strategy including Solutions, Services, and System Integration. CSL is also competent in serving end-to-end solutions especially in data centre and cloud service for corporate business.
4) Continually developing IoT (Internet of Things) to enhance competency of Thai business. For instance, AIS works with Thai Wiwat Insurance to implement the NB-IoT Motor Tracker, a first in car insurance operations.
“There are more important things than business success. AIS as a member of private sector recognises its social responsibility in jointly moving Thailand forward and enhancing the living quality of Thai people in the digital world. We introduced Aunjai Cyber program to offer cyber protection and education to children as well as adults under the concept of “Be a Part of Network.” The Aunjai Cyber program is proud to present world-renown DQ: Digital Intelligence Quotient as an important learning tool to teach children how to be responsible digital citizens. The “AIS Academy for Thais: To the Region”, a symposium offering thought provoking and knowledge sharing for businesses as well as individuals, received high praise in Bangkok and Chiang Mai and is now on the way to Khon Kaen in mid-August,” Somchai said.