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SingTel banks on core markets to support pan-Asian ambitions

Subsidiaries in Singapore and Australia remain key to operator's group earnings

Despite its shareholdings in some of the largest and fastest- growing mobile operators in the world, SingTel’s wholly-owned subsidiaries in Singapore and Australia still remain central to the group. Both these markets are performing well, with revenues from mobile broadband and other data services beginning to make significant contributions, and connections growth remaining stable despite high mobile penetration in both markets. Elsewhere, SingTel faces a myriad of challenges in a variety of different market scenarios. Where its stake is in a smaller operator with a small market-share – PBTL in Bangladesh, and Warid in Pakistan – revenues risk being affected by subscriber acquisition costs and network build-out. Meanwhile, its market-leaders in developing markets are preparing to migrate to high-speed networks; at AIS in Thailand, for example, capex currently accounts for just 2.7% of revenue, according to our calculations, which compares to an industry average of around 10%. However, all this could change as AIS and its domestic competitors begin to rollout WCDMA next year.

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