French challenger brand Iliad continued to report growth in revenue, profit and subscriber numbers in its home market, and accelerated preparations for its forthcoming launch in Italy.

The company said it had made significant progress in preparing its new Italian business – expected to go live at the end of 2017 or early 2018 – in its H1 2017 earnings announcement. The Italy unit will be its first expansion outside of its home market.

Iliad confirmed it had secured a 10,000km fibre backhaul network, deployed its core network, set-up roaming, negotiated interconnection contracts and recruited employees in the country.

Progress at home
Meanwhile, Iliad joined domestic rival Bouygues Telecom in talking-up its progress in adding subscribers and increasing market share in France.

Iliad’s Free mobile brand held a 18.5 market share by the end of June 2017, up from 18 per cent at the turn of the year. Its long-term target is to gain a 25 per cent slice of the French mobile sector.

By the end of June, Iliad had 13.1 million subscribers, up from 12.1 million in H1 2016. This puts its base slightly below the 13.6 million Bouygues Telecom reported for the first half of 2017.

Iliad also reported a greater proportion of its subscribers taking 4G services, with 51 per cent now subscribed to advanced data services compared to 39 per cent in H1 2016.

In a statement to investors, the company attributed its user growth to “continually enriching” its offers and one-off promotions during the first half of the year.

Its mobile service revenue increased 10.5 per cent year-on-year in H1 to €1.08 billion. Net profit – which also takes into account the company’s fixed business – was €232.6 million, a 22 per cent year-on-year increase.