Majority of top 20 APAC telecom operators report revenue growth in 2020, finds GlobalData

  • Of the top 20 telecom operators, 65% posted revenue growth
  • Increase in 5G subscriptions to help garner higher data service revenue

Increase in average revenue per user (ARPU), growth in the number of mobile subscribers coupled with higher data service usage enabled the top 20 telecom operators in Asia-Pacific (APAC) to report average growth in revenue of over 2.5% in 2020, reveals GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Keshav Kumar Jha, Business Fundamentals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic related lockdowns and quarantine measures set by governments, the telecom operators across the region saw a steep spike in data traffic and increased use of broadband services as people increasingly relied on connected devices throughout 2020.”

This reflects in GlobalData research, which shows that among the top 20 telecom operators, 65% reported YoY growth in revenue with five companies reporting growth of more than 5% in 2020. Bharti Airtel (Airtel), PLDT and SoftBank topped the list with each registering double-digit YoY growth in revenue.

With 11.4% growth in customer base, Airtel reported highest revenue in the current financial year. The company’s revenue from mobile services grew 21% YoY with the addition of more than 43 million 4G customers during the review year. Airtel also recorded impressive growth in demand for its home broadband, DTH and enterprise businesses.

Higher revenue from data services in wireless and fixed line business segments allowed PLDT to register YoY growth in revenue.

Mr Jha continues: “Increase in retail consumer revenue, mainly broadband service revenue, helped SoftBank record revenue growth in 2020. Besides, SoftBank reported growth due to increase in royalty and license revenue from the Arm segment.”

Increase in service revenue due to higher consumer and enterprise infrastructure sales, backed by the addition of wireless and 5G subscribers helped LG Uplus to record over 5% growth in 2020.

CK Hutchison and Vodafone Idea were the only companies in the list, which reported over 10% decline in revenue. Although CK Hutchison’s Asian telecom business reported 25% increase in active customer accounts and 2% revenue growth, decline in sales in major segments including retail, ports, and infrastructure mainly due to the adverse effect of COVID-19 led to a decrease in YoY revenue.

The abolishment of domestic interconnection usage charge in India affected Vodafone Idea. The company reported a decline in ARPU amid pricing pressure due to increasing competition.

Mr Jha concludes: “Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, developing 5G network infrastructure has become critical for enterprises for scalability and flexibility in line with growing network demands of consumers. As a result, the rapid rollout of 5G by operators along with increasing penetration of IoT and M2M is expected to help them generate higher revenue in the future.”

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