In the past few years, telcos in the region have faced revenue pressures. With competitive, regulatory, technological and disruptive forces entering the market, revenues for many telcos fell, leading to losses for some. Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the once “safe haven” for investors was in deep trouble.

Ranjan Sharma, Asean TMT analyst for JP Morgan Securities Singapore, tells The Edge Singapore, “If you look across the Asean telco industry revenues, they peaked some time in 2015 and 2016, but then dipped after a number of years. Then, Covid-19 made it worse in certain countries, especially those that are more dependent on the travel industry.”

The combined factors driving revenue pressures, according to Sharma, are regulation for cheaper prices and affordability of service and competition as telcos fight for market share as the dynamics of the business change.

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