MR. SUPHACHAI CHEARAVANONT

Message from Chairman of the Executive Committee

The year 2016 marked another significant milestone for the Thai Telecommunications industry and True, particularly the cellular segment, which progressed toward greater 4G adoption and digitization. Consequently, this helped push the growth rate for the industry’s cellular service revenue to 5.4% in 2016, led by TrueMove H with 28-percent growth, compared to an average of 3.8% for the previous three years. Meanwhile, True’s fixed broadband continued to deliver solid performance and secured its leadership position in the face of heightened competition. Additionally, TrueVisions’ comprehensive range of international and local quality content continue to greatly complement the Group’s convergence strategy, further accelerating growth while deepening customers’ loyalty to True.
True Group remains determined to elevate Thailand’s telecommunications infrastructure while advancing the country towards the Government’s goal of having Thailand become a digital infrastructure gateway to ASEAN. We believe we are creating and delivering genuine value to our country, consumers and other stakeholders while also endowing True towards its advancement as a regional player. The Group has aggressively expanded its wireless and wired telecommunications networks with mobile covering 98% of the Thai population with 4.5G/4G, 3G and 2G services while broadband has currently reached approximately 10 million homes nationwide. Network superiority and convergence remain at the core of the Group’s strategies. These, combined with our ongoing commitment to provide best-value offerings to consumers, resonate in customers’ minds and today's market place. Consequently, we have grown the Group's service revenue and EDITDA by 17.7% and 33.3% YoY, respectively in 2016.
TrueMove H’s competitive strengths of superior network quality and coverage, capitalizing on an ideal combination of low-band and high-band frequencies, and a wide range of attractive device-bundling campaigns and nationwide distribution channels of True and partners were key drivers of its outstanding subscriber and revenue growth for both prepaid and postpaid segments. The 5.4 million net subscribers gained in 2016 represented 75% of the industry’s net adds for the year and increased TrueMove H’s subscriber base to 24.5 million. This increase boosted TrueMove H to become the second largest mobile operator in the country by number of total subscribers. This, together with an accelerating mobile Internet usage, resulted in its service revenue growing at a tremendous rate of 28.4% YoY in 2016 while the combined growth of the other major industry players was a negative 0.2%.
TrueOnline provides optimum Internet experience and high-speed Internet access through aggressive expansion of its nationwide fiber to the home footprint which will complement the Group’s position as the leader in both 4G and broadband. TrueOnline continues to increase the value of its fiber broadband offerings through higher speeds, ranging from 30 Mbps to 1 Gbps, convergence packages and service excellence. Together, these developments fuelled its consumer broadband revenue up 13.6% YoY and a significant net addition of over 380,523 in 2016, driving TrueOnline’s broadband subscriber base to 2.8 million.
TrueVisions continues to differentiate its platform and enhance consumers’ viewing experience through Thailand’s largest selection of high-quality content, especially live broadcasting and high-definition content. The business continually seeks out and produces attractive content to satisfy the evolving preferences of Thai consumers. This commitment has, together with TrueVisions’ stronger position in the mass segment leveraging on True Group’s bundled propositions, resulted in record net additions and paying subscribers in 2016, further expanding TrueVisions’ customer base to 3.9 million by the end of the year.

Corporate Social Responsibility

True Group operates its business based on sustainability principles by taking into account good corporate governance, as well as responsibility towards society and the environment. True utilizes its strengths in creative communications technologies to help improve the quality of life for members of society by providing equal opportunities for them to access knowledge sources and important information. The Company’s True Plookpanya (Planting Wisdom) project focuses on helping improve education in Thailand. There are currently 6,000 schools nationwide under the project of which 58 schools have been selected as True Plookpanya model schools based on their potential and effectiveness in successfully integrating ICT with education.
In 2016, True played an important role through its participation in the Government’s Pracharat initiative which involved both the public and private sectors with an aim to improve and elevate the level of education on a national scale, as well as develop leaders who will help drive sustainable learning. Under the Pracharat initiative’s Connext ED leadership program, True engaged its new generation of young leaders to serve as Schools Partners while the Company’s executives were appointed as School Counselors, providing strategic consultation to school administrators and management. Most importantly, True provided ICT and connectivity to 3,342 schools under the Pracharat initiative, using True Plookpanya model schools as prototype schools that have successfully implemented both IT equipment and digital educational media in the academic curriculum.
As part of its ongoing commitment to foster inclusiveness and help improve the quality of life for underprivileged members of society, True developed the KARE application to assist children with autism develop learning skills. Moreover, True’s We Grow application brings environmental conservation and knowledge into the digital age, while the website www.trueplookpanya.com continues to grow as the nation’s largest education with ethics knowledge hub. Throughout the year, True organized various creative activities aimed at inspiring Thai youths with sustainable learning, which in turn will help develop and transform the country into a truly knowledge-based society.

Looking Forward to 2017

In 2017, we will build on the positive momentum from the previous year and strengthen our position as the genuine convergence leader by focusing on enhancement of our networks and services, expansion of distinct convergence offerings, digital and innovative solutions while continuing to adapt to changes in consumers' behavior and technology through data analytics and leveraging our accumulating expertise in Internet of Things (IoT). By doing so, particularly when combined with our aggressive implementation of the Group’s productivity initiatives, we will further strengthen True's competitiveness and financial health while laying the foundation for us to advance at the forefront of the country's transition to Thailand 4.0 and achieve sustainable growth.

In Appreciation

I would like to extend my deepest appreciation and gratitude to our customers, shareholders, investors, and business partners for their continued support of and confidence in True Group, as well as to the management and staff for their strong determination and endeavors that brought True a year of numerous and notable successes. I am truly confident that we can capitalize on the previous year’s accomplishments, continue our promising growth, and advance forward sustainably into the future.
Remark: EBITDA growth excludes gain from transferring towers to the Digital Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (DIF) for a meaningful performance comparison.