O2 adds 32,000 new subscribers in Q4

23 Jan 2006

O2 Ireland, the country’s second largest mobile operator, acquired 32,000 net new customers in the final three months of last year. Its total customer base now stands at 1.602 million.

New pre-pay customers outnumbered post-pay customers by a factor of more than three to one – 25,000 versus 7,000. According to O2 Ireland this represents 6pc growth in customer numbers from the same period in 2004.

However, average revenue per user (ARPU) data shows that post-pay customers shelled out more on their mobile calls and texts last year. Yearly ARPU for post-pay subscribers increased to €1,155 up from €1,106 from the same period in 2004. This figure was €360 for post-pay customers, an increase of just €1 from the previous year.

When calculated together, blended ARPU was up to €572 from €564 from the previous year.

In the last quarter of the year, O2 customers sent 380 million text messages, equivalent to a 12pc increase in SMS usage over the same period a year ago.

O2 Ireland continued to increase revenues from data services over last year and these accounted for 22.3pc of service revenue in the most recent quarter, up from 20.9pc in October, November and December 2004. Last year the company launched I-Mode, a mobile internet service for O2 customers. This lets users book flights, hire cars or read content from local newspapers.

Paul Whelan, chief financial officer with O2 Ireland said the growth had been achieved through offers such as new price plans as well as “innovative propositions” for business customers. “O2 continued to gain momentum during the last quarter with a strong performance in what has been a challenging and competitive quarter,” he said.

Earlier this month the European Commission cleared the way for a takeover of the mobile phone group by the Spanish telephone company Telefónica, subject to certain conditions. The deal has been valued at around €27bn.

By Gordon Smith