UK number-one operator EE said it is “on target to exceed six million 4G customers by the end of 2014”, as it also revealed a drop in revenue for the first quarter of 2014.
The company added 889,000 4G customers during the period to take its total to 2.9 million. Last week, it said that the seaside town of Rhyl in North Wales had become its 200th to gain LTE services, with national population coverage now at 72 per cent.
During the quarter, operating revenue decreased by 1.7 per cent to £1.49 billion, with the company noting mobile termination rate and roaming rate cuts. Excluding these, there would have been a 0.8 per cent year-on-year increase.
Average revenue per user for mobile services increased 2.2 per cent after the regulatory cuts (up 5.1 per cent excluding the mandated changes). Data (non-text) revenue increased by 11 percentage points to make up 47 per cent of ARPU.
With the company offering 4G tariffs based on speed, the company said that these tiered plans are “driving growth in average access fees”. More than one-in-four new customers are opting for double-speed plans, which are supported by the operator’s network in the UK’s 20 largest cities.
During the quarter, EE saw postpaid mobile net additions of 214,000 including M2M, with 59 per cent of its consumer/B2B base on contract plans, which deliver six times higher ARPU than prepaid. Its prepaid base shrank by 321,000.
It recently announced new entry-level 4G plans.
Away from its mobile operations, EE said that its fixed revenue increased by 12.5 per cent year-on-year, marking its nineth consecutive quarter of growth. Fixed broadband subscriber additions of 20,000 were attributed to “attractive combined fixed/mobile promotions”.