Iliad declared it was back on track in terms of growth, with gains in its mobile operations in France and Italy fuelling rises in consolidated service revenue over the first half of the year.

Highlights cited by the operator include a “sharp performance improvement” in its mobile business, with Italy a particularly strong point after it signed up more than 4 million subscribers in a little over a year. Iliad stated it is no longer dependent on low-priced deals for growth and had reached a turning point in terms of churn and ARPU.

In France, Free Mobile registered a 7 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue from services invoiced directly to subscribers, taking the figure to €789 million at end-June. This contributed to overall mobile revenue of €997 million over H1, up 3.7 per cent.

The business added 145,000 subscribers to its Unlimited 4G tariff over the period, with Iliad highlighting ongoing work to improve its network as it seeks to equip 10,000 sites for 700MHz 4G operation by the year-end.

Over the first six months, Iliad opened exclusive negotiations with Cellnex regarding a sale of passive infrastructure in France and Italy, a deal French authorities subsequently approved.

In Italy, the group “is stepping up the pace of its subscriber recruitment” after racking up close to 1 million net additions over the first half. Iliad added 900 sites to its Italian network during the period and reiterated its goal of deploying a total of 3,500 by the year-end.

With its operation in Italy only commencing in May 2018, annual earnings comparisons are largely moot at this stage. The business generated €177 million in revenue in the recent period, compared with €9 million in H1 2018.

Overall results
Consolidated revenue grew 8.4 per cent year-on-year to €2.6 billion at end-June, some €2.48 billion of which was from services.

However, profit figures took a hit: income from ordinary activities fell 40.1 per cent to €243 million; and profit from recurring operations (which excludes the impact of non-recurring items) was down 60.8 per cent to €91 million.