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Singtel announces iPad 2 ship date as customers pass 400 mil

And Optus hit nine million mobiles in Oz

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Singtel has ridden the Asian frenzy for mobiles to add more than 110 million customers across its mobile businesses in the last year.

The Singaporean telco’s net, which spreads from Australia to Africa via wholly-and partly-owned subsidiaries, also took in growth of more than half a million mobile customers in Australia, where Optus passed the nine million mark.

In Asia, mobiles are driven by the twin phenomena of a burgeoning middle class and indifferent fixed telecommunications infrastructure. Favourable pricing in Asia won’t hurt the iPad 2’s reception either: Singtel is offering a 24-month contract price of SG$599 (equivalent to an up-front of about A$450) with a 24-month SG$40 plan.

The company has announced that it will start shipping the iPad 2 in Singapore this coming Saturday (May 14th), hopefully to more orderly queuing than was seen in Beijing over the weekend. If Singapore shows similar enthusiasm as other countries for the iPad 2, it would expect to pile on tens of thousands of users in short order.

The Optus surge of seven percent in the last year is at least partly attributable to customers switching from Vodafone. Its net result of 103,000 new customers in the March quarter was, however, depressed by pre-paid customer losses, since postpaid adds raced ahead by 151,000.

The postpaid performance is probably boosted by the iOS and Android revolution, with customers sniffing out handset subsidies to get their hands on the new devices. ®

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