O2 revenues rise 11.4pc

19 Nov 2002

A growth in its subscriber base and the continued text messaging boom have helped push O2 Ireland’s revenues to new heights.

The company’s half-year results showed total revenue increasing by 11.4pc year-on-year to €340m and service revenue growing by 12.8pc to €321m.

First half earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was €114m, 22pc higher than last year. Operating profit before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items in the first half grew to €62m from to €45m. The EBITDA margin improved by 33.5pc compared to €71m the previous year.

A 3G licence was accepted in August of this year at a cost of €114.1m. Excluding this, capital expenditure in the first half was €42m, compared to €71m the previous year.

The second quarter saw customer numbers increase by 37,000 in the quarter bringing the total customer base up to just under 1.2 million of which 30.2pc were bill paying customers.
Average revenue per user (ARPU) for pre-paid (Speakeasy) customers increased from €329 to €333 and ARPU for post-paid customers increased from €1,002 to €1,015.

Subscriber acquisition costs continued to fall, mainly due to the elimination of handset subsidies for pre-paid customers and an improvement in pre and post-paid churn in the quarter.

GPRS services were launched to pre-paid customers in August. The share of service from data increased from 11.7pc in the first quarter to 14.1pc, reflecting short messaging service (SMS) volume growth as well as uptake of premium SMS services.

O2’s total customer base in its four operating markets grew by 8.9pc to 18.3 million.

Chief executive of O2 Ireland parent company, MmO2, Peter Erskine said: “The momentum we have built up in the key UK and German markets continued into the second quarter, with growing numbers of high-value customers acquired and strong growth in ARPUs, which are on course to hit our full-year targets.”

“We also saw good customer additions in Ireland and the Netherlands and further progress in data revenue growth in these businesses,” he added.

By Suzanne Byrne