8/13/2009 1:57:00 PM
3 stabilises with revenue and customer base edging up
3 held its ground in the UK for the first six months of the year in terms of revenue and customer numbers, massively cutting its losses in the process.
3’s parent company, Hutchison Whampoa, unveiled its results today (Thursday 13 August), with signs that it is edging closer to breaking even with an encouraging 24% reduction in its losses for the first half of 2009.
Revenue went up 2% to £784m for the six months, making it the only operator along with O2 to see revenue gains (albeit on a much smaller scale). By comparison, 3’s closest competitor, T-Mobile, saw a 4.2% drop in revenue for the first half of the year, despite recording a 30% profit for the second quarter.
3’s customer base also edged up 4% to 5.6 million, with 67% of its customers now on contracts.
It brings continued stability to the UK business after a succession of high churn and expensive acquisition costs.
3 has seen a 13% fall in the average spend of its customers, down to just under £30 per month, with the competitiveness of the market and growing share of mobile broadband customers on its base.
ARPU is increasingly seen as a less relevant figure for mobile operators, with the cost of acquiring customers (specifically dongle customers) distorting the significance of average spend.
As a group, 3 saw revenues decline 18% across its territories to just over £2bn but saw a boost of £283m from merging its Australian business with Vodafone in February this year.
Hutchison also sold its Israeli business for £830m last week.
The group has been adversely affected by the volatility of its domestic currency, the Hong Kong dollar, over the last six months.