Telenor Myanmar has apparently lost more than six million customers in the third quarter of this year. However, as parent company Telenor of Norway points out in its recent third quarter results summary, much of this is related to SIM deactivation.
Telenor Myanmar didn’t lose money, however. Figures released by Telenor suggest that total third-quarter revenues of NOK 1.62 billion (about $1.75 billion) in reported currency were up from NOK 1.39 billion a year earlier. Subscription and traffic revenues amounted to NOK 1.43 billion, up from NOK 1.20 billion. Mobile ARPU and EBITDA were also up.
This isn’t a bad performance given that, as the Telenor third quarter report points out, other factors were at play in Myanmar, notably a highly competitive market, as shown by lower data prices; the price floor has been temporarily suspended by the regulator until the end of March 2021.
And then there’s the SIM deactivation. The number of subscriptions decreased by 6.3 million as Telenor Myanmar deactivated SIMs following the SIM re-registration process to comply with new directives from the authorities. There was an underlying increase of more than four million subscribers but the overall effect was a 2.1 million reduction in the group’s subscriber base.
The inherent demand for telecommunications services, however, is growing. In fact the increase in subscription and traffic revenues was apparently driven by strong growth in data usage, more than offsetting the impact of price pressure.
The Telenor report also noted that operations in Asia and roaming revenues remained impacted by the Covid-19 situation. Lockdowns have eased in some places, but, the report says, the number of new daily Covid-19 cases has been increasing in Myanmar, and local movement restrictions and lockdowns have been implemented.
We reported on the results of the nationwide Myanmar SIM re-registration programme in June. It ended on the 30th of June with millions of SIMs being disconnected by the country’s operators.