Telecom operators profit repatriation up by 26%

KARACHI: Telecom operators and Internet broadband companies have sent a profit of $32.5 million to their homelands in the first four months of financial year 2015-16 with a double-digit growth of 26%.The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) data showed that the cellular phone operators having foreign ownership and shareholding witnessed handsome growth to repatriate profit in the four months from Jul-Oct 2015. The dividends of repatriation reflected the revenue earning drive of the cellular mobile operators, which also witnessed growth in the third quarter of 2015 mainly on data services and mobile financial services.Resulting operators average revenues per unit (ARPU) also increased from the previous year, showing a positive situation for foreign investors having made investment of millions of dollars in the Pakistani market.The revenue-earning situation has been reported earlier as Mobilink and Telenor recorded growth of 7 and 10% respectively. Their ARPU also grew to Rs 230 (17% up) and Rs 214 (20% up) respectively with marked growth from the previous year. The growth was mainly because of the continuous increase in the data services after the launch of 3G services on their networks.

Mobilink and Telenor’s collective share in overall subscribers base stands at 70 million out of 122 million, whereas their subscribers using 3G service increased to 11.8 million out of 20 million subscribers of 3G/4G technologies. Hence, their financial numbers largely paint the almost the overall state of economy of the telecom sector.Previously, the repatriation of dividends of the telecom sector stood at $23.9 million in the similar period of 2014, however it closed the financial year of 2014-15 with outstanding numbers of $254 million. The significant growth in dividends repatriation was witnessed due to handsome inflows of FDI in this particular sector.

The central bank in the recent report stated that telecom revenues during Jul-Sep 2015 stood at Rs 102 billion, down 12% from Rs 115 billion a quarter ago. The decline in revenues is attributed due to Rs 370 million losses of PTCL, which has been struggling to recover its profitability.However, the overall situation has been positive for the sector with an increase in the utility of data services and subscribers on each coming months. The continuous growth in revenues is likely to enhance revenue earning of the mobile phone companies and dividends subsequently, which may lure them to continue their investment plans in the Pakistani market.The overall profit repatriation of multinational companies and foreign investors recorded at $134 million in the period of July-October 2015 as compared with $344 million in the corresponding period of 2014.


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