BANGKOK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Thailand’s largest mobile phone operator Advanced Info Service Pcl (AIS) was hit by higher marketing expenses and weaker handset sales in the second quarter and reported a 2.6 percent year-on-year fall in net profit on Thursday.
The AIS result, which was in line with analyst forecasts, follows Thailand’s second-ranked Total Access Communication which last month reported a 90 percent plunge in net profit in the same April-June period.
However, AIS’ net profit of 9.6 billion baht ($275 million) was in line with a 9.6 billion baht avereage forecast of eight analysts polled by Reuters, and was 19 percent higher than in the previous quarter.
And the company’s service revenue growth in the second half is also expected to improve from a drop of 0.8 percent in the first half, which prompted AIS to revise its 2016 revenue forecast to be “slightly better than 2015”.
AIS, 23 percent owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd , previously said revenue would be unchanged from 2015.
Second-quarter marketing expenses rose 92 percent year-on-yearmainly to a handset migration campaign, while handset sales fell by 25 percent due to a handset subsidy, it said.
AIS also raised the forecast for its profit margin to 38-39 percent from 37-38 percent, as the handset subsidy should fall in the second half after it won a licence for 900MHz spectrum in May.
The acquisition of the licence enabled AIS to continue providing 2G services for the remaining 5.7 million 2G-handset customers, it said.
At the end of June, it had 39.4 million subscribers, up from 38.5 million at end 2015, while it has more than 7 million 4G users after the launch in January, it said.
AIS’s non-voice revenue increased 20 percent year-on-year while the volume of usage per subscriber rose to 2.6GB per month, doubling from the past two years, mainly due to higher smartphone penetration and attractive data price packages. ($1 = 34.9200 baht) (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Alexander Smith)