BANGKOK May 6 Advanced Info Service Pcl
(AIS), Thailand's largest mobile phone operator,
reported a 4.5 percent drop in first-quarter net profit on
Tuesday, dragged down by weaker consumption and fierce
competition after months of political unrest.
AIS, 21 percent-owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd
, posted a net profit of 9.48 billion baht ($293
million) for the January-March quarter, down from 9.92 billion a
year earlier. The results beat the 9.24 billion baht average
forecast by 11 analysts polled by Reuters.
The Thai mobile sector, like many other consumption-related
industries, has seen revenue suffer since political unrest began
in November as delayed payments from a government rice-buying
scheme and lower commodities prices have brought down consumer
AIS has been aggressively expanding its network, while
marketing costs remain high as the market leader wants to
migrate subscribers to a new 3G network.
Migrating customers would help boost revenue from data
services, its key growth driver, and help offset drop in voice
Last week second-ranked Total Access Communication Pcl
cut its revenue growth guidance to "a low single
digit" from 3-5 percent due to the impact of political unrest, a
weakened economy and competition.
($1 = 32.37 Thai baht)
(Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Matt Driskill)