Strong commercial momentum propelled Orange towards a positive year-end, as the operator experienced improving trends across its European operations during Q4 2016.
The operator added 620,000 postpaid subscribers across all its markets during Q4, a 5.3 per cent year-on-year increase, while its European 4G user base increased 58 per cent year on year to 28.1 million subscribers.
It also saw strong fibre growth (393,000 net additions), while retail convergent customers reached 9.2 million, a 10 per cent year-on-year increase.
CEO Stephane Richard (pictured) said the company was “reaping the benefits of our strategy of differentiation through investment and customer experience”, as the company returned to revenue growth.
Revenue increased 1 per cent, reaching €10.5 billion from €10.4 billion in the comparable period of 2015. However, domestic revenue dropped 0.8 per cent to €4.83 billion. It noted mobile services were impacted by decreased revenue from national roaming in France, and roaming price reductions throughout Europe.
Further highlighting challenges, Richard said there was “a level of competition that is intense and unprecedented, particularly in France”.
The operator pinpointed Spain as a growth area, with revenue rising 7.9 per cent to reach €1.3 billion led by mobile and fixed services. Revenue in Poland also grew 1.9 per cent to €681 million on the back of strong equipment sales.
Excluding France, group revenue in Europe grew 4.5 per cent to €2.7 billion.
Orange did not provide a net income figure for the quarter, but said adjusted EBITDA grew 4.6 per cent to €3.2 billion from €3 billion in Q4 2015.
Full year 2016 net income was €3.3 billion, up from €3 billion in 2015. The increase was in part linked to a gain made on the disposal of its discontinued operations of UK operator EE. BT completed an acquisition of EE in early 2016.
Full year revenue of €1.4 billion in Middle East and Africa (MEA) was up 1.6 per cent year-on-year.
Orange said the marginal revenue growth was due to declines in wholesale services to operators, and less favourable conditions in the DRC.
Its mobile customer base in MEA as of 31 December was 120.7 million, following the addition of 208,000 customers in Q4. Orange Money had 28.9 million customers at the end of the period.