French challenger operator Iliad’s mobile revenue topped €2 billion for the first time in 2016, up 11.7 per cent year-on-year, as the company reached 12.7 million subscribers.
During last year, its Free brand increased its user base by 1 million subscribers taking its market share to 18 per cent, according to its own estimates. Its long-term target is to achieve a 25 per cent share.
In Iliad’s annual results statement, the company attributed its mobile unit’s strong growth to its competitive commercial offerings. It specifically cited the popularity of its sub-€20 plan, which offers roaming to selected destinations and a 50GB 4G data allowance.
Revenue for its mobile business grew 11.7 per cent year on year in 2016 to €2.43 billion. Its consolidated revenue, which also includes its fixed and broadband operations, was €4.72 billion – a rise of 7 per cent year on year. Overall profit grew 20 per cent year on year to €403 million.
To support its growth, the operator continued to build out its 3G and 4G networks and reported 2016 was a “record year” for mobile site deployments. It opened 2,400 new 3G sites, equipped 3,300 4G sites for use with 1,800MHz frequencies and opened 236 sites using the 700MHz band.
This year will see the company expand its mobile services to Italy, which it described as a “promising growth opportunity”.
The launch will use assets Iliad acquired as a result of a merger between Hutchison and VimpelCom’s units in the country. At the time of its Italy announcement, Iliad said it aimed to capture 15 per cent of the Italian mobile market.