Orange Group reported continued gains in its home market of France, driven by an increase in mobile contract customers, new services and boost in sales of fibre broadband.

In Q4 2017, the company added 212,000 contract customers – double the number in the same period in 2016. By end-December, its mobile subscriber base in France reached 31.8 million, up from 30 million in Q4 2016. Of these, 91 per cent were on contracts by the end of 2017, compared with 88 per cent in 2016.

The operator announced fibre sales hit a record high for the quarter in both France and Spain, while its home figures were further buoyed by the launch of Orange Bank in November 2017 and an increase in converged service sales.

Revenue for France grew 1.7 per cent year on year to €4.6 billion in Q4: at group level, revenue was broadly flat at €10.5 billion.

Across Orange Group – including its other European, Middle East and Africa operations – it ended 2017 with 211 million mobile customers, up 10 million year-on-year.

Orange’s net profit figures are not broken down by quarter or region, however it revealed annual net profit of €2.1 billion (down from €3.3 billion in 2016) on revenue of €41 billion. The decline in net profit was attributed to the removal of its share in UK operator EE from its accounts.

Commenting on the company’s annual performance, Orange Group chairman and CEO Stephane Richard said: “2017 was a remarkable year for Orange in more ways than one. The Group delivered an excellent commercial performance, driven by very high-speed broadband.”

Bank launch
During November, the company launched its delayed bank service, which Richard said had since signed up almost 100,000 users. The company previously revealed the service had crossed the 50,000 mark in its first two months.

Orange last week announced it aimed to commercially launch the service in Spain in 2019. During 2017 Orange took a €61 million capex hit and €93 million in operating costs to develop and launch its bank.

Africa growth
Orange said its Africa and Middle East division revenue grew 5.7 per cent year on year to €1.3 billion during Q4, driven by a 34 per cent year-on-year increase in data revenue, a boost in B2B customers and a 58 per cent rise in revenue from its Orange Money service.

Customers of the money service across its African markets reached 36.9 million by the end of Q4 with 12.1 million active in the last 30 days of the period. At the end of Q4 2016 the company had 28.9 million users.

Contract extension
Prior to revealing its financial performance for the year, Orange’s board announced its backing for Richard to continue in his role as chairman for a further four years. The statement praised his role in developing the company’s international operations and the diversification of its activities.