Singaporean telco provider StarHub has witnessed a boost in its first half enterprise business revenue, with a particularly strong turnout from cyber security services, despite seeing its preliminary pre-tax earnings take a tumble.
The telecommunications provider released its preliminary results for the six months ending 30 June 2021 on 5 August, revealing a 7.4 per cent year-on-year decline in preliminary earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the six-month period, to S$245.9 million.
However, total preliminary revenue was marginally up by 1.5 per cent to S$973.7 million.
Digging down into the business segments, mobile revenue took a dive of more than 15 per cent during the half year, coming to S$259.8 million. StarHub told shareholders this was due to lower postpaid and prepaid revenues.
The decrease in prepaid revenues specifically was due to a decline in the number of tourists and foreign workers thanks to sustained travel restrictions, lower data subscriptions and lower prepaid expired credit.
On the flipside, broadband revenue was up by more than 12 per cent year-on-year, to S$95.5 million. This was due to higher average revenue per user (ARPU) from reduced subscription discounts and the absence of a one-time 20 per cent rebate on home broadband monthly fee that was extended to customers for a service disruption in April 2020.
Another solid segment was the company’s enterprise business, which saw revenue increase by 12.9 per cent year-on-year to S$333.6 million, due to higher contributions from managed services, cyber security services and the consolidation of the Strateq business — acquired last year — under the Regional ICT Services segment.
Within the enterprise business, the cyber security services sub-segment was by far the best performer, enjoying a year-on-year revenue increase of S$12.1 million to S$115.9 million.
The revenue boost comes as many IT service providers across the region observe a sharp increase in cyber security services demand since the onset of the pandemic.
As reported in March, after a year of high-profile data breaches, cyber security spending soared globally by 10 per cent to hit US$53 billion in 2020.
According to analyst firm Canalys, the segment outperformed all other IT segments except business continuity and workforce productivity, which took precedence during the pandemic.
Looking ahead, 5G remains one of StarHub’s key focus areas for growth. Indeed, the company’s enterprise business launched its 5G internet of things (IoT) platform service in February 2021, enabling its customers to integrate disparate IoT systems and massive number of devices into a centralised cloud platform to provide holistic view of operational metrics.
StarHub said it is also continuing to explore synergistic and accretive merger and acquisition opportunities that will bolster its market position and offer further diversification.
In June, StarHub launched a new managed secure access service edge (SASE) offering thanks to a partnership with cyber security vendor Palo Alto Networks.
The StarHub Managed SASE offering, combined with Palo Alto Network’s cloud-delivered security platform, Prisma Access, is designed to help enterprises simplify and automate cyber threat protection and multi-site network management as they operate with and connect through various cloud environments.