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Data drive revenue growth for Smart

Malaysia-based Axiata announced yesterday that its Cambodian operator Smart had increased its data user base by 135 per cent, taking its data subscriber base to 1.8 million and feeding Cambodian consumers’ insatiable appetite for social media sites.

Smart increased its revenue in 2014 to 588 million ringgit ($179.5 million), up 48.4 per cent from 2013 when revenue was 396 million ringgit ($132 million). Revenue was primarily driven by data services, with voice services contributing to 19 per cent of the growth.

“Certainly we believe that future [revenue] growth is coming largely from a further increase of data users as well as from an increasing usage of data by the existing data users,” said Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart.

Hundt said low smart phone penetration will help fuel future growth and that the company was “cautiously optimistic” about its future growth prospects.

The telcom firm also launched the iPhone 6 in Cambodia late last year and is currently the only partner for Apple in the Kingdom.

Smart’s 4G LTE service is currently available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Takhmao and Sihanoukville, while Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu will follow suit in April, according to Hundt.

Services such as Smart Life Insurance, the country’s first mobile-delivered life insurance product, and Facebook Unlimited, which provides unlimited data usage for the social media site, were key to attracting customers, Hundt said.

Axiata attributed its results last year to performances from subsidiaries, Dialog and Robi, and “stellar double digit growth across all financial metrics” at Smart.

Malaysia-based Celcom’s performance was, however, a dampener, due to structural changes at retail outlets and customer care.

“After 31 consecutive quarters of excellent growth, Celcom saw challenges in the fourth quarter impacted by system related issues, a tightening of short code offerings as well as changing consumer behaviour with the increase of smart phone adoption,” the statement read.

Clarification: In an earlier version of this story the Post used the spot rate on February 25 to assess the dollar value of Smart's 2014 revenue figures. Smart in turn uses an average conversion rate of 3.15 ringgit to the dollar for 2014. Based on that rate, Smart's revenue in 2014 was $179.5 million and $132 million in 2013. The article has been updated to reflect the latter conversion rate.


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