XL Axiata swings back to profit in FY16
Indonesia's XL Axiata swung back to a 376 billion rupiah ($28.1 million) profit in 2016, as the company benefited from its $250 million tower sale and a stronger rupiah.
The sale of 2,500 telecoms towers to local tower operator Protelindo, announced in March, helped the operator recover from a 25 billion rupiah loss the year before.
But service revenue declined 4% to 19.19 billion rupiah due to the ongoing shift from legacy services to data. As a result of this rebalancing, data grew to account for 53% of the operator's service revenue as of the fourth quarter, up from 35% a year earlier.
Data traffic also surged to 515,304 terabytes, up from 196,341 terabytes a year earlier. The surge was driven by a 21 percentage point increase in smartphone penetration among XL's subscribers to 63%, totalling 29 million customers at the end of FY16.
During the fourth quarter, service revenue grew for a second consecutive quarter, albeit a slim 1% sequentially.
XL Axiata's results show that the company rolled out over 25,000 new base stations during the year, taking its total to 84,484 by the end of the year. Of these, 8,204 are 4G e-Node base stations, 38,731 are 3G node base stations and 37,549 are 2G sites.
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