True grows 5G base but loses money on rising costs

true 5G
Image by Bhubeth Bhajanavorakul | Bigstockphoto

True Corp widened its loss for a third consecutive quarter as its pursuit of 5G contributed to rising costs. Ironically, its mobile business was the lone driver of growth on the back of post-paid 5G subscriber gains, according to a report from Mobile World Live.

After True launched its 5G service in 2021, the telco’s subscriber count increased by 5% to 33.6 million people. The company added 4.5 million new users of its 5G network despite increasing pressure on ARPU due to unlimited data offerings from competitors and rising inflation rates.

The company’s net loss grew more than fourfold to THB2.8 billion ($78.7 billion) in the July-September quarter.

Higher costs, declining revenues

The primary reason for the loss increase was higher depreciation and amortisation expenses associated with the telco’s 5G network rollout, the report says.

Additionally, True saw its revenue decline by 1.1% to THB32.6 billion in Q3, as a decrease in network rental income offset an increase of 61.5% in product sales to THB5.1 billion. Broadband revenue and paid-TV sales both saw drops, of 2.7% and 15.8% respectively.

With 5G becoming more of a reality in Thailand, telcos are preparing their networks for the next generation of wireless technology. True is the first to launch 5G in the country, and it continues to expand its network and provide avenues for customers to sign up for the service.

True targets youth with 5G hub

A few weeks ago, True unveiled its True 5G Pro Hub, a ‘gaming and lifestyle hub for the digital generation’. The hub is located in Bangkok’s Siam Discovery mall and spans more than 2,000 square meters. It is scheduled to open in December and will offer a variety of gaming and pop culture experiences.

The hub is part of the firm’s e-sports ecosystem, and is designed to support an integrated online-and-offline experience for users, according to Piroon Paireepairit, head of True’s 5G working group. The goal is to attract young people to subscribe to True’s services.

True estimates that by the end of 2022, Thailand’s 5G coverage will reach 85% of the population. Nearly 10 million subscribers are expected to be using 5G by the end of the year.

Related article: Thailand’s NBTC looks for ways to hobble True-DTAC merger

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