Optus has posted a return to net profit, reporting A$35 million in the black for the first half of the financial year, ending 30 September.
This marks a 260 per cent bounce back from A$23 million in the red in the previous financial year.
Operating revenue dipped 3.5 per cent to A$3.92 billion as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 6.6 per cent to A$1.04 billion on the back of continued momentum in its mobile business.
Not including depreciation and amortisation, earnings (EBIT) were A$145 million, up from A$69 million in the same period last year.
The revenue decline was put down to the reduction in NBN migration revenue as the broadband builder completes its network rollout.
It was also attributed to lower equipment revenue due to supply shortages arising from the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, Optus said.
Excluding NBN migrations, revenue slightly increased, driven by strong mobile performance and a 13 per cent year-on-year growth in annual revenue per user (ARPU), reflecting strong price discipline, the telco said.
“Our relentless focus on customer experience, delivery of Australia’s fastest 5G and the launch of new and innovative Optus Living Network features is resonating with customers,” Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said.
“These half year results demonstrate our strategy is the right one and we are optimistic about Australia’s reopening, which will also re-instate COVID-affected revenue streams as we welcome customers back to our retail stores and travellers back into Australia.”
Mobile service revenue in the first half was up 9.7 per cent year on year, driven by higher post-paid revenue from increased penetration of Optus Choice plans and positive net connections.
In the first half, the mobile customer base grew by 66,500 overall with the post-paid customer base increasing by 82,300.
Optus Enterprise also saw earnings growth, reflecting a combination of improved sales volumes and ongoing cost discipline, the telco said.
Parent company, Singtel, meanwhile saw group revenue rise 3 per cent to SG$7.65 billion, EBITDA up 1.3 per cent to SG$1.93 billion, and net profit grow to reach SG$954 million.
Following 18 months of speculation, Singtel sold a 70 per cent stake in its telecommunication towers business, Australia Tower Network (ATN) to AustralianSuper for A$1.9 billion in October.
ATN has 2312 mobile network towers and rooftop sites that comprise a total value of A$2.3 billion.
Under the terms of the deal, Optus will have continued access to the sites through a long-term lease agreement with ATN and will be the anchor tenant for 565 new build-to-suit sites to be built over the next three years for its 5G network.