O2 revenues continue to rise

18 May 2004

O2 Ireland today announced turnover of €762m, up from €686m last year, for the year ended 31 March 2004. Service revenues reached €720m, up from €645m last year.

Profitability as expressed by EBITDA also increased to €300m, up from €244m last year, while margins rose from 35.5pc to 39.3pc.

O2’s customer base grew by 11pc during the year to 1.39 million and a total of 21,000 net new customers, mainly prepay, were added during the quarter.

Average revenue per user during the fourth quarter across pre and post-paid segments was slightly ahead at €559 compared to €556 in the previous quarter. Pre-pay ARPU grew to €357 and post-pay ARPU grew to €1,061.

Although Ireland continues to yield significantly higher ARPU than Germany and the UK, O2’s other European markets, the company claims this is related solely to how much Irish customers use their mobiles. Usage on the O2 Ireland network increased for the full year to 197 minutes per month (up from 188 minutes per month to end March 2003). The corresponding figure for the UK was 123 minutes and for Germany was 118 minutes.

Data as a proportion of service revenue increased to 23.6pc in the fourth quarter (from 21.1pc in the previous quarter). Some 339 million text messages were sent in the three months January-March 2004. For the full year, the number of messages broke the billion barrier for the first time: 1.12 billion compared with 992 million in the previous year.

Commenting on O2 Ireland’s performance, chief executive Danuta Gray said: “We are extremely pleased with what was another period of enhanced performance and growth for O2 Ireland. Over the past 12 months, we have made significant gains driven simply by our consistent focus on our customers and by being innovative in the products and services we bring to the market such as Wi-Fi hotspots and the BlackBerry. Proof of this is strong growth in our overall customer base, up by some 11pc on 2003, and the strong uptake of data services, which now represent 20pc of our total revenues.”

She added: “The outlook is positive and we are confident that the successes of the past 12 months in terms of keeping existing customers and winning new ones, and providing a quality network and services will be enhanced even further.”

Full-year revenue for the parent mmo2 group grew by 22pc to £5,646m sterling, with operating profit before exceptionals and goodwill rising to £435m sterling.

By Brian Skelly