Hong Kong's HKT has reported a 4% increase in profit for 2017 to HK$5.09 billion despite facing intense industry competition throughout the year.
The operator reported a 2% decline in total revenue to HK$33.26 billion, as a result of a significant decline in revenue from handset sales at its mobile units.
Underlying revenue increased 2% to HK$30.89 billion, with gross margins remaining stable at 57%.
Total broadband customers grew 2% to 1.59 million, with retail broadband lines up 2% to 1.42 million and business broadband access lines growing 4% to 154,000.
The operator's total mobile customer base meanwhile declined 2% to 4.4 million, as a result of a shrinking prepaid customer base (down 14% to 1.2 million). Postpaid mobile subscribers by contrast grew 3% to 3% to 3.2 million.
But revenue from handset sales shrank 31% to HK$2.36 billion, in a result HKT attributed to the ongoing extension of handset replacement cycles.
HKT's bottom line for the quarter was improved as a result of cost synergies associated with the full integration of CSL Mobile into its operations in 2016. HKT completed the acquisition of CSL New World Mobility in 2014.
Revenue from CSL's Tap & Go mobile payment service and The Club rewards program meanwhile grew 5% to HK$249 million, while costs of sales fell 2% to HK$14.16 billion as a result of the lower handset sales during the year.
First published in Computerworld Hong Kong