Singapore Telecom (Singtel) on Thursday reported a full-year net profit rise, driven by increased mobile data usage as more customers browse the Internet on handheld devices.
Investments in high-speed Internet networks and services are paying off as the easy mobile connections allow people to consume more data while on the go, said Singtel, Southeast Asia's biggest telecom firm by revenue.
"Mobile data was the bright spot," said Singtel Group chief executive Chua Sock Koong.
"Our regional markets are now making their respective transitions from mobile telephony to mobile Internet and harnessing the benefits of extensive investments in 3G and 4G networks and services," she said in a statement.
"We worked with our regional associates to navigate this shift from voice data."
Singtel said cloud computing and cybersecurity services also helped drive growth as governments and businesses turn to the cloud and data analytics "to drive productivity and manage large amounts of complex data".
Net profit for the year ending March 31 rose 2.4 percent to Sg$3.87 billion ($2.83 billion) on revenue of Sg$16.96 billion, down 1.5 percent.
For the fourth quarter ending March, net profit climbed 0.8 percent to Sg$946 million. Revenue was at Sg$4.09 billion, down 5.6 percent.
Pre-tax earnings contributions of regional mobile associate firms climbed 4.5 percent to Sg$2.60 billion for the full year and 12.3 percent to Sg$699 million for the quarter.
Earnings however were eroded by a strong Singapore dollar as net profit is reported in the local currency and foreign associate companies account for a bulk of revenues, the result of Singtel's expansion beyond the small domestic market.
Outside of Singapore, Singtel has a wholly owned subsidiary in Australia called Optus. Singtel also owns substantial stakes in mobile telecom operators in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
The Singapore dollar strengthened against the Australian dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Indian rupee, Philippine peso and the Thai baht during the financial year.