The current debate over mobile charges and the competitiveness of the sector did not stop No 2 network O2 Ireland from putting in a very strong performance in the past three months of 2004.
The latest performance data from the firm shows that it acquired 91,000 new customers (86,000 prepay customers and 5,000 postpay customers) during the traditionally strong Christmas period, bringing its total customer base to 1.516 million. This represents subscriber growth of 11pc over the same period a year earlier.
The average revenue per user (ARPU) rose to €359 for prepay customers, up from €355 the year before. ARPU for postpay customers increased to €1,106 up from €1,048, while blended ARPU grew from €556 to €564.
Text messaging grew unchecked, with 343 million messages sent during the three months, a 14pc rise. Data revenue now accounts for 20.9pc of service revenue for O2.
Commenting on O2 Ireland’s performance, Paul Whelan, chief finance officer, O2 Ireland said: “The third quarter to December 2004 has been exceptionally good for O2 with continued gains in acquiring customers despite a highly competitive market and mobile penetration now at approximately 90pc … We surpassed our competitors in net customer acquisitions with more than 91,000 customers joining the O2 network in the three month period, making O2 the No 1 network for customer acquisitions in the Irish market.
“We continue to see our customers using their phones more and more, not just for voice calls but also for sending text messages and using data services such as email on the move, games downloads, news and sports alerts and so on.”
Whelan added pointedly that the company had performed well “despite intense competition and a difficult regulatory regime”.
By Brian Skelly