OSLO: Earnings margins in Telenor’s extensive Asian operations have been lifted by the ongoing growth in mobile broadband usage in the region, Chief Executive Sigve Brekke said during the company’s first-quarter earnings presentation on Thursday.
“The data growth is giving us a better margin than voice and that is the main reason why we are able to grow EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation),” he said.
“Smartphone penetration in these markets is still low, especially in Bangladesh and Pakistan, so we foresee a continuous growth in the data segment in these markets.”
Brekke said the data increase was driven by more and cheaper smartphones in the market, adding that a decent smartphone could now be got at around $30 in these markets, which was a 20% reduction in prices year over year.
“The emerging Asian market was the growth star in the quarter. We added 10 million data users during last year.”
He said Telenor was continuing to roll out 3G in Bangladesh, 4G in Pakistan and is also starting to roll out 4G in Myanmar.
“We have now moved up the population coverage on our network in Myanmar from 62% to 90% by the end of first quarter.”