Eircom gets 3G license, revenues up 9pc

28 Feb 2007

Incumbent telecom operator Eircom has accepted the 3G license from ComReg that was originally sought by Smart Telecom. In its third quarter results Eircom revealed that is on target to reach 500,000 DSL subscribers this year.

In its third quarter results this morning Eircom said that revenues of €419m marked a 9pc increase on the same quarter last year.

Fixed line revenues of €409m were up 1pc, while its recently acquired mobile arm Meteor’s contribution to revenues were described as solid.

Meteor saw 69,000 new subscribers added in the third quarter, bringing total mobile subscribers to 819,000.

Eircom said that network investment in both DSL broadband and mobile infrastructure has increased by 28pc to €219m of capital expenditure (capex) outflow for the last nine months.

It emerged in recent days that Eircom is planning to make an additional €60m investment to upgrade its central communications network to be able to handle speeds of at least 8MB per second within two years.

During the quarter Eircom signed up an additional 60,000 DSL broadband customers, a 50pc increase on last year.

It attributed this growth to steps taken to stimulate demand through increased availability and more attractive pricing.

It said that at the current rate of take-up, the company’s target to provide 500,000 DSL lines by the end of 2007 will be reached early.

“Over the last quarter and during the nine-month period to date, the group continued to deliver solid revenue growth, both in the mobile and fixed line segments,” Eircom chief executive Rex Comb said.

“This has largely been supported by Meteor’s contribution to revenue, EBITDA and subscribers. 69,000 new subscribers joined Meteor this quarter.

“This brings the total mobile subscribers to 803,000 as of the 31 December 2006, a 28pc increase in nine months. As of 31 January 2007, there are 819,000 mobile subscribers on Meteor’s network,” Comb said.

Commenting on the 3G license granted by ComReg, Comb said: “Eircom is delighted to announce its acceptance of the 3G licence offered recently by ComReg on the understanding that the necessary financing arrangements will be in place ahead of 12 March 2007.

“Eircom has repeatedly stated its commitment to provide 3G services in the Irish market and today’s announcement confirms the company’s view that accepting the licence is the best way to ensure that Eircom delivers a high quality mobile offering to our customers,” Comb said.

By John Kennedy