Hong Kong-based operator HKT recorded growth in its mobile business in the first half of 2023, despite weaker 5G adoption, driven by a gradual recovery in roaming.

The operator acknowledged uptake of 5G services slowed year-on-year, growing 30.7 per cent to 1.2 million, accounting for 35 per cent of post-paid customers as of end-June. A year earlier its 5G user base more than doubled to just over 900,000. Net 5G adds dropped from more than 450,000 a year earlier to less than 300,000.

Mobile service revenue in H1 grew 5 per cent to HKD3.8 billion ($486.4 million), while mobile equipment sales slid 11 per cent to HKD1.2 billion. In an earnings release, the company said it expects mobile device sales to rise in the second half as an economic recovery gains momentum and new handsets are released.

The number of roamers and consumer outbound roaming in June surpassed pre-Covid levels, with revenue surging 166 per cent year-on-year.

Post-paid subscribers in the six-month period increased 2 per cent to 3.4 million at end-June, with prepaid subs falling 16 per cent to 1.3 million. Post-paid ARPU was flat at HKD187.

Net profit increased 2.2 per cent year-on-year to HKD2 billion; total revenue grew by 2 per cent to HKD16.4 billion.

Local data services, which include broadband, increased 7 per cent to HKD6.2 billion. Pay-TV services were flat at HKD1.2 billion.

HKT is the second-largest mobile operator in Hong Kong, behind China Mobile (HK) with 6.5 million connections at end-June, data from GSMA Intelligence showed.

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