Displaying items by tag: Q2 2017

Data fuels growth in Thailand’s mobile industry

Written on Sunday, 03 September 2017 11:30

Increased data usage fueled growth in Thailand’s mobile industry in the first half of 2017, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board. Pricing competition in the sector dropped, and overall Thailand’s economy increased by the fastest rate in four years.

Thailand’s GDP rose 3.7 percent year-on-year in Q2 2017 after annual growth of 3.3 percent reported in Q1.

The country’s three leading mobile operators – AIS, True Move and Telenor-owned dtac – saw service revenue increase 8 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, according to a report by Bangkok Post. In addition, non-voice revenue generated around 68 percent of the operators’ service revenue in Q2.

“It seems the telecoms business is on the up-and-up after reaching bottom last year,” CIMB analyst told Bangkok Post, reflecting on how Thai telecom operators have pulled back their aggressive marketing campaigns.

AIS’ second quarter revenue increased 21 percent year-on-year to THB 18.7 billion ($562 million), the Bangkok Post report said, representing 63 percent of its total revenue. True’s data revenue increased 25 percent to THB 10.4 billion, while dtac’s data revenue grew the most at 27 percent to THB 11 billion, representing 66 percent and 74 percent of total revenue, respectively.

The operators all posted increases in service revenue in Q1 this year, Bangkok Post said. In the lead was True with 17 percent growth, ahead of AIS with 6.6 percent and dtac with 2.3 percent. In terms of voice revenue, dtac and AIS both experienced year-on-year declines, while True posted a 2.6 percent increase.

Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited, commonly referred to as AIS, is Thailand's largest GSM mobile phone operator with 39.87 million customers as of Q3 2016. For a long time True ranked third behind dtac, but in the opening quarter of 2017, True boosted its market share to 26.5 percent, placing it just ahead of dtac’s 26.2 percent share. True maintained its lead over dtac in Q2, according to GSMA Intelligence.

Published in Telecom Operators

Chinese firm DPVR overtakes HTC’s leading VR spot in China

Written on Sunday, 03 September 2017 08:33

Chinese firm DPVR overtook HTC as the top virtual reality (VR) headset vendor in China in Q2 2017, according to Canalys research, shipping 18,000 headsets, resulting in a 30 percent quarter-on-quarter increase. HTC, whose only product is the HTC Vive basic headset, suffered a 6 percent sequential decline, shipping 14,000 units.

Sony took third place in China, according to the research, shipping 9,000 PlayStation VR headsets. According to Canalys estimates, the overall VR headset market in China grew 25 percent quarter-on-quarter to reach 80,000 units. Notable vendors, including Pico, 3Glasses and Hypereal, contributed to growth with new product releases.

DPVR ships a variety of VR products, with a strong focus on standalone smart VR headsets, which accounted for 60 percent of its total shipments in Q2. The company benefited from a better product mix, according to Canalys, with the addition of the newly-released E3, a basic VR headset that tethers to a PC.

“The E3’s biggest selling point is its competitive price,” said Canalys Analyst Jason Low. “By dropping the barrier to entry, businesses are now investing more in VR. DPVR is winning contracts from B2B partners, including media content and service providers looking to deliver VR content to customers at home.”

DPVR shipped 7,000 E3s in Q2 2017, though it still trailed behind HTC and Sony in the basic VR headset segment.

In the second half of the year, Canalys expects the market to move toward smart VR headsets. HTC announced the recruitment of developers for its upcoming smart VR headset during ChinaJoy 2017, an entertainment expo held in Shanghai in July.

“HTC saw the need to quickly launch a standalone headset specifically for the Chinese market to follow the trend early,” said Low. But even as HTC drops the selling price, the current Vive system poses many challenges for both consumer and business adoption due to its complexity and the need for VR-ready PCs. “HTC will regain its top position in China if it produces an appealing standalone headset that is affordable yet capable of providing new use cases for both businesses and consumers.”

China’s consumer market remains challenging, especially for basic VR headsets that need an additional external computing device, according to Canalys. But Chinese vendors have identified opportunities that HTC and Sony missed.

“Hypereal, a newcomer to the industry, released the Pano, an affordable headset suitable for VR gaming on the PC, to fill the void caused by the absence of Oculus in China,” said Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia. “Vendors must lower prices while improving the user experience and content to drive growth and adoption in the consumer market. Pico demonstrated that it is possible to produce an appealing standalone headset while offering a decent VR experience for under CNY 2,000 (US$300).”

Canalys estimates that worldwide VR headset shipments reached 800,000 units in Q2 2017, with China accounting for 10 percent of the market.

Published in Gadget

Xiaomi becomes world's no.1 wearables vendor in Q2 2017

Written on Thursday, 10 August 2017 10:05

Xiaomi captured 17 percent of the global wearables marketshare in Q2 2017 and became the world’s largest wearables vendor for the first time ever, overtaking Fitbit and Apple, according to Strategy Analytics research. Global wearables shipments reached 22 million units in the quarter.

Steven Waltzer, Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global wearables shipments reached 21.6 million units in Q2 2017, rising 8 percent annually from 20.0 million in Q2 2016. Strong demand for low-cost fitness-bands in China and premium smartwatches across the United States drove the uptick.”

Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million wearables worldwide in Q2 2017, rising 23 percent annually from 3.0 million units in Q2 2016. Xiaomi captured 17 percent global marketshare and overtook Fitbit and Apple to become the world’s largest wearables vendor.

Xiaomi’s Mi Band fitness trackers are wildly popular in China, due to their highly competitive pricing and rich features such as heart-rate monitors, step-counters and calendar alerts, said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. 

Fitbit shipped 3.4 million wearables for 16 percent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2017, almost halving from 29 percent a year ago. Fitbit is at risk of being trapped in a pincer movement between the low-end fitness-bands sold by Xiaomi and the fitness-led, high-end smartwatches sold by Apple, he said.

“Apple shipped 2.8 million wearables worldwide in Q2 2017, growing 56 percent annually from 1.8 million in Q2 2016,” said Cliff Raskind, Director at Strategy Analytics.

“Apple has for now lost its wearables leadership to Xiaomi, due to a lack of presence in the sizeable fitness-band subcategory. However, the rumored upcoming Watch Series 3 launch with enhanced health tracking could prove to be a popular smartwatch model and enable Apple to reclaim the top wearables spot later this year.”

Published in Gadget

Kuwait’s Zain Group reported a 5 percent decrease in revenues for the six months ended June 30 compared to the same period last year due to massive currency devaluation in Sudan, it said. The company ended the period serving 45.2 million customers across the Middle East and Africa.

In Q2 2017, Zain Group recorded consolidated revenues of KD 261 million (US$ 860 million), down 5 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. EBITDA for the quarter reached KD 104 million (US$ 344 million), down 21 percent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) in KD terms, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 40 percent. Net income for the quarter amounted to KD 44 million (US$ 145 million), down 2 percent Y-o-Y in KD terms reflecting earnings per share of 11 Fils (US$ 0.04).

Foreign currency translation impact, predominantly due to the 61 percent currency devaluation in Sudan, cost the company US$ 157 million in revenue, US$ 62 million in EBITDA and US$ 25 million in net income. Excluding the currency translation impact, Y-o-Y revenues and net income would have grown by 12 percent and 15 percent respectively for the period, it said.

"The company’s performance in the first half has been satisfactory given the various operational and forex challenges we face across our footprint,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zain Group, Mr. Mohannad Al-Kharafi.

Mr. Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, said, “It is unfortunate that one main factor outside of our control, namely the Sudan currency devaluation issue, has impacted overall performance considering the sound operational progress and transformation we have undertaken across all our markets.”

He added, “At the same time, the various operational management teams are focused on dealing with such costly and unavoidable socio-economic challenges across several key markets and are laying the foundations to take full advantage of improving conditions, once they occur.”

Maintaining its market leadership, Zain Kuwait saw its customer base serve 2.6 million customers. The first half of the year was characterized by intense price competition coupled with additional operational costs in network expansion and upgrades, which impacted the operation’s financial performance for the period.

Nevertheless, Zain Kuwait remains the Group’s most profitable operation with revenues reaching KD 167 million (US$ 549 million), EBITDA amounting to KD 66 million (US$ 215 million) and net income came in at KD 39 million (US$ 128 million).

Zain Kuwait was awarded and is currently implementing a smart meter project, in one of the sector’s largest ICT projects for the country’s Ministry of Electricity and Water. This Smart Meter project is a key step of the company's strategic plans to deploy smart city solutions in Kuwait and beyond.

In Iraq, despite the socio-economic circumstances coupled with the continuation of intense price competition, the operator achieved US$ 523 million revenues due to growth in data usage and numerous customer acquisition initiatives in the northern regions of the country. Zain Iraq’s efficiency drive saw EBITDA reach US$ 179 million, reflecting a 34 percent EBITDA margin. Net income amounted to US$ 11 million for the period. Zain Iraq leads the market serving 12.9 million customers.

Zain Saudi Arabia recorded its first-ever half yearly net profit of US$ 14 million, compared to net losses of US$ 154 million in the same period last year. The turnaround and cost optimization program in place at the operation, combined with investment in network upgrades and the introduction of appealing data monetization initiatives, bolstered all key financial indicators for the period. Revenues for the period were up by 9 percent, reaching US$ 1.04 billion.

However, the introduction of the biometric identification requirement during the year and the impact of seasonality saw the Zain Saudi Arabia’s total customer base shrink by 15 percent, to stand at 9 million customers at the end of June 2017. But the operator witnessed a 42 percent rise in data revenues (excluding SMS and VAS) Y-o-Y, representing 50 percent of total revenues.  

"The first six-months of 2017 produced some defining positive developments such as the progress being achieved through the turnaround program in Saudi Arabia and robust growth in our data monetization, Enterprise (B2B), and smart city initiatives in several key markets,” said Mr. Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi.

Zain Jordan grew its customer base by 3 percent Y-o-Y, serving 4.2 million customers at the end of June, and maintaining its market leading position despite intense price competition. Y-o-Y revenues increased 2 percent to reach US$ 241 million, with EBITDA up 1 percent to reach US$ 116 million, reflecting an impressive 48 percent EBITDA margin.

However, net income decreased 5 percent to US$ 48 million for the six-month period. With the continual expansion of 4G services across the country, data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) represented 37 percent of total revenues.

Zain Bahrain reported net income of US$ 4 million, reflecting a large 21 percent decrease. The operator generated revenues of US$ 100 million for the first six months of 2017, up 17 percent Y-o-Y. EBITDA for the period amounted to US$ 30 million, down 8 percent, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 30 percent. Data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) increased 36 percent Y-o-Y, representing 43 percent of overall revenues.

Published in Finance