French cable operator Numericable-SFR has hailed a “return to growth” in the first quarter, driven by a 6.7% in its very high-speed broadband base to 1.595 million. The operator also set ambitious targets for fibre and 4G growth.
Numericable-SFR’s ADSL base declined by 4% to 4.925 million in the year to March. The group’s total fixed line base numbered 6.52 million customers. The group added 48,000 fibre customers in the first quarter, compared with 68,000 for the whole of 2014, as it migrated SFR subscribers to the Numericable fibre network.
The group said it would connect 7.7 million homes to its fibre network by the end of this year, rising to 15 million by 2020.
Regarding the 4G network, Numericable-SFR said it would cover 70% of the population by the end of 2015, 90% by end 2017 and 99% by end 2020.
Numericable-SFR said its ADSL customer base will continue to recede in 2015, as customers migrate to the high-speed network. Fixed line ARPU was up slightly – by 0.9% – at the end of March, reaching €34.30.
The group’s residential mobile base declined by 5.7% to 15.816 million, largely due to losses in the prepaid segment. Overall mobile customers, including business customers, numbered 22.494 million, down 2.5%. Numericable-SFR said its mobile post-paid ARPU stabilized in the first quarter, declining slightly quarter-on-quarter to €25.50.
Numericable-SFR posted revenue of €2.74 billion, down by 4.6% compared to Q1 2014, which it said was due to the decline in mobile revenue. However, adjusted EBITDA, which amounted to €930 million, was up by 21%, compared to Q1 2014.
Numericable-SFR’s majority owner Altice meanwhile reported reveues of €3.263 billion for the quarter, down 3.3% or 4.5% on a constant currency basis. The group posted EBITDA of €1.177 billion, up 20% or 18% on a constant currency basis.
“Q1 2015 was a strong quarter for the Altice Group, with 20% growth in our adjusted EBITDA and 12% growth in our operating free cash flow. We are particularly pleased with the strong start to the synergies realisation plan in France and are confident that our strategy based on higher value generation through focus on quadruple play and use of our clear fibre advantage will continue to deliver results. We began the year strongly, both operationally and financially, and will continue to drive margin expansion and cash flow growth across all of our operations in 2015,” said Altice CEO Dexter Goei.
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