Altice Europe talked-up rapid subscriber gains in both France and Portugal during Q3, though revenue fell 6 per cent as strong competition took its toll.
In Q3 its mobile unit in France added 378,000 subscribers – compared to 16,000 in the same period of 2017 – taking its post-paid base to 13.4 million. Its fixed unit booked net adds of 64,000, up 45 per cent year-on-year.
On its financial results call, CFO Malo Corbin said during the first nine months of 2018 the company had gained a total of 1.1 million customers in France across fixed and mobile. This was the same number it lost in the three years immediately after the acquisition of mobile operator SFR in 2014.
Altice Europe reported increased customer numbers in its core SFR brand, Red sub-brand and fixed business in France during Q3. Corbin attributed this to a “substantial improvement in churn following operational changes” and bundling in football content to some of its contracts.
Despite recording customer gains in the market, Corbin echoed statements made by rivals that the “competition intensity of the French market in Q3 was even greater than in Q2.”
He added the company had “counterattacked” with its promotions during the period, stating although “no-frill brand” Red cost more than rival low-cost brands in the market it had “excellent commercial traction”.
Meanwhile, its Portugal operation reported historically low churn and a second successive increase in connections. Its post-paid mobile base increased by 37,000 to 2.9 million, though revenue remained broadly flat.
Customer additions in the two markets, Altice Europe said, would improve its financial performance in 2019.
During Q3, revenue declined 6.3 per cent year-on-year to €3.4 billion, with adjusted EBITDA down 10.6 per cent to €1.3 billion. No net profit figures were available.
Over the last year, the company has had a complete overhaul with a refocused strategy and change in CEO. It has also disposed of assets in a bid to reduce its debt pile, which still stood at €30 billion at the end of Q3 2018.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back