SFR, which runs mobile and fixed-line operations in France, saw year-on-year Q1 sales fall 5.8 per cent, to €2.44 billion, so improving on the 7.1 per cent drop recorded during the previous quarter.
Worryingly, however, SFR continues to lose post-paid retail subscribers in the highly-competitive French mobile market, shedding 21,000 in the first three months of 2014.
The SFR figures were reported as a discontinued operation by parent company Vivendi in anticipation of completing the sale of its telecoms unit to Altice, an investment company which controls Numericable (France’s largest cable operator).
SFR’s total mobile customer base reached 21.3 million at the end of March 2014, up 3.2 per cent compared to 12 months previously. Total post-paid customers numbered just over 18 million.
In terms of 4G, SFR covered more than 40 per cent of the population in 1,300 cities with over 1.4 million customers as of 31 March.
SFR’s EBITDA amounted to €625 million during the quarter. Although an 11 per cent year-on-year fall, Vivendi said the decrease was “softened” by SFR’s transformation plan.
While Vivendi may expect its SFR sale to get the necessary regulatory approvals, the deal was questioned this week by Orange CEO Stephane Richard in an interview with the Financial Times.