Data revenue drives Hutchison's profits

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Data revenue drives Hutchison's profits

Plans to lobby NBN Co for connectivity.

Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (HTA) has reported a $17.9 million profit from its stake in Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) in the six months ending June 30.

HTA's share of VHA's earnings before tax and amortisation was $222.7 million, up 127 percent year-on-year. Hutchinson's share of VHA's service revenue grew by 24.1 percent year-on-year to $1.071 billion.

VHA is a 50:50 joint venture between Hutchison Telecoms and Vodafone Group. It operates Vodafone, 3 and Crazy John's shops in Australia.

VHA had 7.43 million customers, with 539,000 added in the first half of 2010 and an additional 1.1 million customers since the merger between Vodafone and Hutchison completed in June last year.

Customers using 3G services, including mobile broadband and data, more than doubled to almost 2.3 million, up 150.2 percent compared to the previous corresponding period.

Data and non-voice service revenue increased 42.7 percent to $432.3 million and now represents 39.4 percent of VHA's average monthly revenue per user (ARPU).

VHA chief executive Nigel Dews said VHA has provided "value-leading plans", which include "generous data allowances. These have proved attractive to customers particularly with the increase in popularity of smartphones."

"The company is pleased with the solid growth in customer service revenue driven by customer acquisition and increased uptake in data services," he said. "We remain operating free cash flow positive in line with expectations," he said.

Dews said VHA's integration in business "is a high priority" and would remain a focus through 2010-2011.

NBN

Dews said VHA will lobby the government and NBN Co to "ensure mobile base stations are able to connect to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

"We've been quite clear about that, but it remains a little way off. "Should it emerge -- and we think it will emerge -- it's something that we will assess much closer to that time as the NBN starts to scale.

Dews said the NBN will "provide good access to the home at reasonable wholesale prices".

"It's' something that we haven't seen Australia ever," he said.

iPhone

Dew said last week's extravagent iPhone 4 launch party at Sydney's Ivy bar was worth the company's marketing dollars. He said the launch of the latest Apple iPhone was "a really important event".

"Has it been worth it? It feels like, we've had a terrific start ,we've sold large numbers of the handset."

Dew admitted there's been an issue with delivering the iPhone with relatively small number of devices compared to its demand: "there's an insatiable appetite for it," he said.

"We've seen no spike in [iPhone 4] customer complaints," he said.

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