Telefonica said it met its 2017 guidance “despite regulatory drags”, as it made progress in a digitalisation strategy designed to transform it into “a platform company”.

In an earnings statement executive chairman Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete (pictured) said: “We have entered 2018 with clear priorities to execute our strategy, with revenue growth, margin expansion for the third year in a row and lower capital intensity thanks to the efforts already undertaken.”

Full year profit attributable to shareholders of €3.1 billion was up 32.2 per cent year-on-year, on revenue which was essentially flat at €52 billion.

Among the factors noted as impacting revenue was exchange rate fluctuations in Venezuela and Argentina. Profitability gains were made through “cost containment efforts, efficiencies from the transformation process and digitalisation, synergy capture and a lower regulatory impact”.

The company said it had 97.5 million LTE customers, up 1.5-times year-on-year. Contract mobile customers of 115.9 million was an increase of 5 per cent year-on-year.

Net debt at 31 December 2017 was €44.2 billion, down €4.4 billion year-on-year.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported a profit attributable to shareholders of €693 million, up from €145 million in Q4 2016, on revenue of €13.2 billion, down from €13.7 billion.

In organic terms, revenue increased by 4.8 per cent, driven by mobile service and handset revenue. Mobile data represented 60 per cent of mobile service revenue in Q4 2017.

For 2018, the company is forecasting revenue growth of 1 per cent, despite negative regulatory imapcts.