Deutsche Telekom said the first quarter of 2013 was “characterised by a successful strategic direction, clear growth in customer numbers, and sound financial data”, as it reported an increased profit for the period.
Among the highlights was a return to branded customer growth at T-Mobile USA, “for the first time in 15 quarters”.
However, its revenue for the period slid, after the group was impacted by issues such as declining revenue from voice telephony, “in some cases substantial price changes imposed by regulatory authorities”, and competitive pressure.
In a statement, DT said that with the merger of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS as well as positive indicators for its German fixed line business, “positive prospects are opening up for the Group”.
Rene Obermann, chairman of the company, noted: “We have resolved some major issues. The biggest of those were our customer figures in the United States, which are finally back on the up.”
The company reported a profit of €564 million for the quarter, up 3.5 per cent from €545 million, on revenue of €13.79 million, down 4.5 per cent from €14.43 billion.
It ended the period with 133 million mobile customers, up 3 per cent from 129.1 million at the end of March 2012.
For its European subsidies (excluding Germany), DT said it had “made progress in growth areas, while at the same time battling with negative effects from the economy and regulation”.
In this unit, EBITDA was €1.13 billion, down 4.6 per cent from €1.19 billion, on revenue of €3.33 billion, down 6.9 per cent from €3.58 billion.
The company noted reduced mobile termination rates and roaming regulation in “most” of its mobile markets, with “competition-induced price reductions” and weak economies in markets such as Greece, Hungary and Croatia also taking their toll. It said that “around half of the decrease in revenue from operations was attributable to the OTE group” [Greece].
Across the region, it ended the period with 61.5 million mobile customers, down 0.6 per cent from the end of the previous quarter. It noted that the number of prepaid customers had “declined slightly year-on-year in many countries”, as it shifted its focus to higher-value contract subscribers.
For its German unit, it reported EBITDA of €2.12 billion, down 8.9 per cent year-on-year, on revenue of €5.57 billion, down 1.6 per cent from €5.66 billion.
Mobile service revenue declined by 1.9 per cent, due to roaming price reductions, cuts in termination rates, “a downward trend in voice and messaging services”, and “a shift in user behaviour toward IP messaging services”.
Data revenue increased by 17.1 per cent, and “a compensating effect also came from successful smartphone sales which was reflected in increased revenue from mobile terminal equipment”.
It ended the period with 37 million mobile customers in Germany, up 1.2 per cent from the end of the prior quarter, which was attributed to “the good performance of machine-to-machine solutions, our second brand “congstar”, and the Call & Surf Comfort via Fun product”.
In the first quarter, the operator sold 1.4 million mobile phones in Germany, with the proportion of smartphones, “especially Android devices and iPhones”, remaining stable at 73 per cent.
For the US, EBITDA was €854 million, down 5.6 per cent from €905 million, on revenue of €3.54 billion, down 8 per cent from €3.85 billion.
The company noted that the revenue slide was due to a decrease in its T-Mobile USA branded postpaid customer base and falling ARPU, which impacted service revenue. It noted that “service revenue declines from voice revenues were partially offset by strong growth in data revenue from customers using smartphones with mobile broadband data plans”.
It ended the period with 33.97 million mobile customers, up 1.7 per cent from the end of the previous sequential quarter.