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iPhone Launch to Hurt SingTel's Quarter Earnings

Singapore Telecommunications, Southeast Asia's largest telco, said on Tuesday that the launch of iPhone 3G will hurt its earnings in the fiscal second quarter ended September.

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SingTel, which owns Optus in Australia and stakes in several mobile phone operators across the region, said it had together with its associates sold over 170,000 iPhone packages during the quarter following their launch in July and August.

"In line with the group's policy, mobile subscriber acquisition and retention costs are expensed immediately on activations ... Consequently, the successful iPhone 3G initiative will have a dilutive impact on earnings and margins in the near term," SingTel said in a statement.

In Singapore, this will reduce earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation by about S$27 million ($18.26 million). In Australia, the drop in EBITDA will be approximately A$44 million ($29.95 million).

SingTel also said its Indonesian associate Telkomsel had on October 31 issue a revised outlook and is now looking at low-single-digit growth in operating revenue as well as a decline in margins by about 5 percent.

The Singapore firm did not say how the launch of iPhone will hurt results at its Indian and Philippine associate firms Bharti and Globe.

SingTel is scheduled to report its second quarter earnings on Nov 12.