Despite fall in revenue, O2 hits highest subscriber numbers

26 Feb 2009

Telefonica O2’s Irish operations have recorded a 5pc year-on-year increase in customer numbers – some 81,561 new subscribers – bringing its customer base to its highest peak of 1.72 million subscribers to date.

The company reported a 14.8pc rise in the number of text messages sent during the quarter, increasing from 609 million in Q3 to 699 million in Q4.

Year-on-year, there was a 73.9pc increase in text usage, up from 402 million in Q4 2007.

Despite the rise in subscribers, Telefonica O2 revealed that service revenue was €227m for the fourth quarter, down from €234m in Q3 and down 1.7pc year-on-year.

Data revenue as a percentage of service revenue grew during the quarter, driven by the growth in non-SMS revenues, which now account for 8.3pc of service revenues.

The company attributed this to the growth in mobile broadband usage. It now has 98,000 mobile broadband subscribers.

Monthly blended ARPU was €42.6, down from €43.70 in Q3 and down from €45.70 last year.

Monthly average ARPU for post-pay customers was €69.2, down from €72.20 in Q3, down from €78.80 last year.

Monthly average ARPU for prepay customers was €26.7, down from €27.70 in Q3 and down from €29 last year. Average monthly minutes of use decreased slightly in the quarter from 246 to 243.

On the back of a slowing economy, trading conditions in the last quarter of 2008 were very difficult for all businesses, and the telecoms sector was no different,” said Paul Whelan, chief financial officer, Telefónica O2 Ireland.

“Although we saw a slight decline in revenues, we continued to win customers in the marketplace, adding almost 15,000 new customers in the quarter, and 82,000 in total in 2008. We have achieved this by continuing to support and meet the changing needs of our customers.

“Our value-for-money price plans launched in 2008 have proved to be extremely popular with customers. We also introduced new cost-control services available with O2 price plans including Spend Alerts, a text service that alerts customers when they have reached a particular amount on their bill, allowing them to control their spend.”

Whelan said that as the business environment continues to get tougher, the company is focusing its efforts on attracting and retaining customers in the year ahead.

“We will continue to work with our customers to offer innovative products and value for money price plans, while maintaining our focus on offering the highest quality customer service,” Whelan added.

By John Kennedy