Millicom adds 470,000 new Mobile Financial Service users in Q4

TigoMillicom reported a fall in fourth-quarter results, hurt by negative currency effects and a number of one-off charges. Revenues fell 9.8 percent to USD 1.68 billion, and adjusted EBITDA was down 7.4 percent to USD 551 million. The net result was a loss of USD 426 million, due mainly to non-cash charges on asset valuations and forex losses. The company said organic service revenue was still up 5.9 percent year-on-year on mobile data and cable growth, and the adjusted EBITDA margin improved 0.9 percent points to 32.9 percent on efficiency measures.

In Latin America, organic revenue rose 2.8 percent to USD 1.42 billion, reflecting some slowdown in Colombia and macro conditions in Paraguay. Service revenue still grew 4.4 percent. EBITDA was USD 513 million, after USD 33 million in one-off charges relating to Colombia integration costs and a bad debt charge. In Africa, organic revenue grew 13.4 percent to USD 258 million, and EBITDA was USD 17 million after USD 26 million of restructuring and one-off items.

The company’s mobile subscriber base increased by 1.1 million in the quarter to 62.6 million at the end of December, including the acquisition of Zantel which had 1.4 million customers at the end of 2015. In Latam, Tigo gained 900,000 new subscribers, largely from Guatemala and Colombia. In Africa, the subscriber growth came from Tanzania (close to 450,000) and Chad (return to growth after 2 negative quarters). During Q4, the operator sold nearly 1.6 million smartphones and added 1 million new mobile data users, with 30 percent of the customer base now using data.

The cable footprint expanded by 133,000 in Q4 to 7.6 million homes passed, and RGUs rose by 143,000 to 5.4 million. The number of RGUs per household increased to 1.88 from 1.80 a year ago, and more than 56 percent of households were double or triple play, around 3 percentage points more than a year ago. The ARPU per home connected was USD 26.0, flat quarter on quarter in dollar terms but up 11 percent year-on-year in local currency.

Mobile financial services added close to 470,000 new users in Q4 for a total 11.2 million, up 18 percent in one year. The main contributors to the growth in the quarter were Tanzania, Ghana and Rwanda. MFS revenue was up 13 percent, with ARPU of USD 0.96, down 4.3 percent in local currency. The quarter was impacted by the flooding in Paraguay, the company’s second largest MFS country, where revenue declined by 22 percent in local currency. Transactions this quarter were USD 2.89 billion, up 3.9 percent excluding top-ups.

Millicom announced plans for further restructuring in Africa in order to boost cash generation in the region. In Latin America, the company will continue to launch new services and invest in its footprint, with the planned roll-out of 4G in Paraguay, satellite pay-TV launch in Colombia and introduction of Tivo across all Latin American countries in 2016.

For 2016, Millicom forecast mid-single digit growth in service revenue, mid- to high-single digit growth in adjusted EBITDA and capital expenditure of USD 1.15-1.25 billion, down slightly from USD 1.28 billion last year. The forecast is based on constant currency rates and scope.

America Movil grows mobile data revenues by 10.3 percent in Q4

AmericamovilAmerica Movil saw its revenue growth slow to 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, for a total of MXN 231 billion. Service revenues declined 1.5 percent, or 0.6 percent year-on year at constant exchange rates, in line with the preceding two quarters, due to the economic slowdown in Brazil as well as the increased regulation in Mexico. Mobile data revenues rose 10.3 percent, fixed data was up 7.9 percent, and pay-TV revenues grew 6.6 percent, helping to offset weakness in some mobile markets.

EBITDA fell 2.9 percent to MXN 63.9 billion, while net profit rose six-fold to MXN 15.7 billion, thanks to lower financing costs and forex losses. Net debt rose to MXN 585 billion, or 1.8 times EBITDA, from MXN 537 billion at the end of 2014. AMX proposed a dividend of MXN 0.28 per share, up from MXN 0.26 a year ago, and said it will also buy back up to MXN 12 billion of its shares.

America Movil finished the year with 367 million access lines, down 0.3 percent from 2014 due mainly to the disconnection of inactive mobile customers. The total includes 286 million mobile subscribers, 35 million landlines, 24 million broadband connections and 22 million pay-TV subscribers. The mobile base saw 2.9 million net disconnections in the fourth quarter, leading to a 1.4 percent decline of in the subscriber base compared to 2014. In the fixed market, the number of RGUs increased 3.6 percent year-on-year, mostly due to a 6.6 percent jump in broadband customers.

Nextel sells Argentine Mobile business to Clarin

NextelNII Holdings has confirmed the sale of the remaining 51 percent stake in Nextel Argentina to Cablevision, a subsidiary of media conglomerate Clarin. The sale gives Cablevision 100 percent ownership of Nextel following its acquisition of a 49 percent stake in the operator last September for USD 178 million.

Clarin’s move into the Argentine mobile market was initially blocked by telecommunications regulator AFTIC in a decision that was widely seen as politically motivated in view of the longstanding dispute between the media group and outgoing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Nextel is currently Argentina’s fourth largest mobile operator with a 3 percent share of the market, well behind Claro (America Movil) with 33 percent, Personal (Telecom Argentina) with 32 percent and Movistar (Telefonica), also with 32 percent.

NII Holdings said the net proceeds received from the transaction will be used to improve its liquidity and support its operations in Brazil. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2014, subsequently proceeding to sell Nextel Mexico to AT&T for USD 1.9 billion. It finally emerged from Chapter 11 last June but recent reports have suggested Nextel Brasil is up for sale for USD 300 million

Telefonica Argentina to invest USD 3.7 bllion before end of 2018

Telefonica de Argentina has announced that its investment from 2016 to 2018 will total ARS 36 billion (around USD 3.7 billion). The primary focus will be on the modernisation of its fixed and mobile (3G and 4G) network infrastructure Earlier this year the company announced that its 2015 investment would amount to ARS 8.5 billion in total.

Announcing the three-year investment, Telefonica’s institutional relations director Jose Luis Rodriguez Zarco said the operator had already rolled out 28,000 kilometers of fibre-optic cable and installed more than 10,000 mobile base stations, 2,300 of which were 4G enabled. The company has a total of 1.5 million 4G customers across 17 provinces and will launch its voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in the first quarter of 2016.

GTD launches 4G services across Chile

GTD, the mobile operator in Chile has announced the launch of their 4G service throughout the country, allowing users to access the internet at speeds of 10 Mbps and above, around ten times the previous top speed.

The GTD Movil MVNO offers a number of plans, including 1.5GB of mobile data plus 200 minutes of calls for CLP 15,990. The GTD group recently increased its investment in its Chilean, Colombian and Peruvian units to USD 300 million over the 2014-16 period.

IFT: America Movil remains dominant after Telesites spinoff

America Movil remains a dominant player in the Mexican telecoms industry in spite of the recent spinoff of its towers business Telesites, according to Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) president Gabriel Contreras.

The company last week announced that Telesites shares will be listed on Mexico’s benchmark IPC stock index starting on 21 December. However, the 2014 decision to declare America Movil a dominant player “extended to all companies in the group and it was established that in the event of spinoffs, mergers or other corporate moves, the affiliates and subsidiaries would have the same obligations as the dominant company,” clarified Contreras.

America Movil controls around 80 percent of Mexican landlines and 70 percent of mobile phones while Telesites owns a network of around 10,800 towers in Mexico.

Oi sees 3.3% drop in Q3 revenues

Brazilian operator Oi reported BRL 6.51 billion in third-quarter revenues, down 3.3 percent year-on-year. The company was hurt by the reduction in mobile termination rates and outsourcing its handset operations. EBITDA improved 10.6 percent to BRL 1.74 billion, as a result of the continued focus on cost efficiency and profitability of the existing customer base. Operating costs fell 7.5 percent to BRL 4.78 billion, helping the EBITDA margin improve 3.4 percent to 26.7 percent. Capex was BRL 950 million, down by a third from the year-earlier period, of which 85.6 percent was directed to the network.

Net customer revenues (excluding handset sales and revenues from network usage) reached BRL 6.07 billion, an increase of 0.9 percent. In the mobile market, customer revenues rose 8.1 percent year-on-year to BRL 1.78 billion, driven by the increase of 52.8 percent in data revenues (including VAS). Oi also highlighted the increase in its residential ARPU, up 8.3 percent to BRL 79.50.

The total customer base was still 4.3 percent lower year-on-year at 71.84 million at the end of September. This included a 5.0 percent drop in residential customers to 16.5 million, 3.9 percent fall in mobile to 47.06 million, and 5.0 percent drop in business subscribers to 7.60 million. In the residential segment, the number of fixed line customers fell 8.2 percent to 10.22 million, broadband customers were down 2 percent to 5.13 million, and pay-TV customers grew 13.4 percent to 1.17 million. Of the total mobile users, 41.99 million were pre-paid (-4.0%) and 6.98 million post-paid (-3.2%).

The average speed in the fixed broadband network increased by 25 percent in the last twelve months and Oi said 53 percent of customer additions had speeds of at least 10 Mbps. During this same period, IP traffic grew 43 percent and the ADSL congestion rate fell by 17 percent.