Iliad overcame “persistently fierce competition” in France to report a strong Q3 performance, bolstered by the addition of 250,000 mobile subscribers, as the company edges closer towards a launch in Italy.
The operator, which entered France in 2012 through mobile and internet brand Free, shook up the market by increasing the number of operators from three to four, sparking a period of aggressive promotions to capture, or indeed maintain, market share.
Free, in particular, pushed lower prices and attributed this quarter’s subscriber growth largely to its Free Mobile Plan, offering unlimited calls, texts, 25GB of data, and roaming for €19.99 a month.
Iliad said Q3 net additions left it close to 13.4 million mobile subscribers in total, and represented the highest number of net adds in France for the 23rd consecutive quarter. The operator ended the period with an 18.7 per cent share of overall French mobile subscribers.
The company added one in two of its subscribers now had access to 4G, amounting to 7.4 million 4G subscribers in total, while it also reported a “record-breaking quarter” for FTTH connections, with 64,000 new subscribers, in addition to 27,000 new broadband and ultra-fast broadband subscriber additions.
On the back of the strong subscriber gains, Iliad reported a year-on-year revenue rise of 5.3 per cent to €1.24 billion, from €1.18 billion in Q3 2016, with mobile revenue increasing 6.3 per cent to €554 million.
Iliad did not provide a Q3 profit figure.
The company is now ever closer to a long-awaited launch in Italy, which is expected to happen at the end of 2017 or early 2018.
Iliad’s Italian unit, which it acquired as part of a deal which saw CK Hutchison’s Italian unit merge with Veon’s local business, represents the company’s first major move outside of France.
The company said earlier this year it plans to adopt an aggressive pricing strategy in Italy, similar to the one deployed in France, in its bid to capture market share.
Although there was no mention of Italy in its Q3 results announcement, Iliad CFO Thomas Reynaud told Reuters it was close to finalising its team for launch in Italy.
“More than 70 people have already been recruited, essentially in Milan but also in Rome,” he said: “The staff will continue to grow and we’ll be present in several cities, notably to deploy our network.”.