Orange is feeling the economic pinch with
revenues down 15.3%, ADSL services dropping 12.7% and mobile revenues down 6.8%.
Despite breaking through the 17m customer barrier for the
first time, parent company France Telecom’s Q3 results show its UK arm struggling
under the weight of a weak pound and regulatory measures that include roaming
charges and lower mobile termination rates.
However of the 15.3% fall in revenues, 8.9% of this relates
to the weak pound sterling exchange rate, with the actual revenue decline
closer to 7%.
Orange UK saw
broadband customer numbers drop in the face of increasing competition. In Q3
the number of subscribers dropped 12.2% to 899,000 compared to 1.023 million a
subscriber numbers increased slightly, rising 1.9% to a total of 16,110
customers. Orange UK’s
mobile broadband remains strong, with customer numbers soaring 64% year on year
to 4.717 million.
France Telecom said its UK arm
operations were hit harder by the recession than in other countries, suffering
the double whammy of an unfavourable exchange rate and regulatory measures.
However, it added that the group as a whole is still
outperforming the GDP performance of the national markets where they are
France Telecom also confirmed plans for a merger with T-Mobile
remain on track for early November.