Broadband numbers up 28pc at UPC – 94,000 subscribers

6 Nov 2008

Cable broadband, TV and telecoms provider UPC reported revenues of US$91m for the third quarter at its Irish division, up 20pc on last year’s €75.9m performance.

The company attributed much of this growth to an increase in broadband subscriber numbers to 94,000, out of a total base of 870,000 subscribers.

“Overall, we have delivered a good set of results, demonstrating that our product mix is being well received in the Irish marketplace,” the chief executive of UPC Ireland Robert Dunn (pictured)said.

Future Human

“In particular, we are encouraged by the upward trends of our telephone and high-speed broadband services, and attribute this success to the excellent value these products represent in today’s market.

The increase in broadband numbers now positions UPC as the No 2 provider in Ireland, and Dunn said the company is focused on extending this reach across the national footprint. At present, some 468,600 homes are capable of receiving UPC’s broadband service.

“Q3 saw the launch of a new high-speed 20Mbps product, which certainly helped to drive subscribers in the quarter,” Dunn said.

The company’s new telephony services are now used by 23,000 subscribers out of 327,700 homes that are capable of receiving the service.

“It is disappointing that more consumers are not taking our phone service, given the cost savings available versus the incumbent line rental charge of €25.36 per month,” Dunn said.

In terms of digital television, Dunn added that UPC is focused on moving customers to digital TV and launched a new digital entry pack for €20, which he said has been well received in the market.

“We also continue to see strong demand for our digital video recorder (UPC plus). Subscriber numbers for digital were marginally up, and we attribute the downward trend in analogue to the continued reduction of newly built homes, summer seasonal factors and competition.

“We are focused on restoring growth to our TV customer base and see the introduction of new services such as high-definition TV and video on demand as the catalysts for this growth.

“These products have been successfully launched in other markets by UPC during 2008, and have stimulated subscriber growth in the future.”

UPC’s parent company Liberty Global reported revenues of US$2.65bn, up 17pc, and generated free cash flow of US$100m in Q3. The company reported a net loss of US$309m, compared with a net profit of US$40m last year, which was driven by the sale of assets worth US$553m.

“We remain focused on driving penetration of advanced video and broadband services, and on managing our cost structure and capital spending,” said CEO and president, Mike Fries.

“As a result, customer average revenues per user (ARPU) are up approximately 10pc in Europe, and our penetrations and bundling ratios continue to reach new highs.

According to the Liberty Global accounts, its operations in Poland, Chile, Australia, and Ireland experienced the strongest rebased revenue growth rates over the third quarter of 2007.

ARPU per customer relationship increased by 17pc to US$46.10 for the quarter.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years