America Movil blamed lockdown measures for the loss of millions of connections and plummeting equipment sales in Q2, though it still booked increased revenue and profit on exchange rate movements and lower debt financing costs.

The operator noted “practically all” of its operations were hit with covid-19 (coronavirus) prevention measures during Q2, disrupting shops and customer care centres.

Its mobile base dropped by 5 million across its markets, with the vast majority from the prepaid sector as customers struggled to make top-ups. Most of the disconnections were in Mexico, Peru and in its Central America business unit.

As of the end-June, it had a total of 277 million mobile connections, broadly flat on Q2 2019 as the losses wiped out gains made over the remainder of the year.

“Substantially all our operations lost prepaid clients whereas most of them also lost post-paid subscribers,” the company said, though added “as confinement restrictions began to be lifted an improving trend became apparent practically everywhere”.

Revenue from equipment sales dropped 27 per cent year-on-year as its shops remained closed. Total group revenue of MXN252 billion ($11.3 billion) was broadly flat (0.6 per cent higher), aided by favourable foreign exchange movements.

Net profit was MXN20 billion, up from MXN14.4 billion, with a reduction in debt financing costs cited as boosting its bottom line.

The company’s net debt, however, continued to increase, hitting MXN765 billion at end-June. America Movil is in the process of assessing ways to cut this, including measures which would allow it to “reap more benefits from our tower assets”.