O2 has reached the 21 million customer mark, after adding 292,061 UK net mobile customers during the third quarter ended 30 September.
The operator added a total of 312,323 contract customers, but lost 20,262 prepay. The company now has a total of 9.3 million contract customers – a 13.9% year on year increase.
O2 said the increase in contract customers was down to ‘churn containment’, prepay to contract migration, tariffs such as its Sim-only ‘Simplicty’, and high-end devices such as the iPhone.
Churn in the contract segment was 1.2%, both for the third quarter and for the year to September 2009 periods.
Voice ARPU showed a year on year decline of 8.1% in local currency, reaching €15.8 (£14) in the first nine months of the year, due to the continued uptake of propositions such as ‘Simplicity’ (with reduced acquisition costs), non-voice accesses (such as mobile broadband and machine-to-machine lines), the ‘optimising behaviour of customers when using voice bundles’ and, from August, mobile termination rate cuts.
Data ARPU rose 5.1% in the third quarter in local currency and in the first nine months of 2009 reached €9.2 (£8.30). The company said this reflected the continued increase of mobile internet users, particularly in contract, partially offset by a decline in SMS ARPU, mainly due to the ‘optimising’ behaviour of customers and the increasing usage of all-inclusive packages, as well as the voluntary reduction of termination rates.
As a result, Telefónica O2 UK’s total ARPU for the first nine months of the year showed a 4.3% year on year decline in local currency to €25 (£22.50).
Mobile service revenues in the first nine months of 2009 were €4,469m (£4,034), a 3.6% year on year growth in local currency.
Mobile service revenues were negatively impacted by mobile termination rate cuts, the company said, reducing year on year growth by 4.9 percentage points in the third quarter and 2.1 percentage points for the year to September 2009 in local currency.
Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Europe Matthew Key said: ‘Telefónica Europe has again delivered impressive results in a fast changing environment, with top line organic growth accelerating thanks to our unwavering focus on the customer and maximising the efficiency of our operations.
‘With our businesses in both the UK and Germany now outperforming, we are seeing further evidence that the rebalancing of our European business portfolio is continuing to bear fruit.
‘Despite the economic downturn, we have continued to invest in the market in order to drive growth. Over the past 12 months, we have taken nearly 60% of all mobile net adds across our markets.
‘We have established O2 as the home of the smartphone and are now seeing firm evidence of mobile data taking off, with more than five million of our UK customers regularly accessing the internet on their phones and a 20-fold increase in data traffic on our network in the last year.’