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Free digests fixed-line losses after tough year

French service provider Free lost 32,000 fixed-line subscribers in the fourth quarter, an acceleration of the rate of loss that has impacted it over the course of the year as a whole.

The operator had 6.427 million broadband customers at the end of the year, down from 6.52 million a year earlier. Free’s fibre-to-the-home base increased from 556,000 to 983,000 over the same period.

Free said its performance had been impacted by intense competition in the market.

The company posted revenues of €4.9 billion for the year, up 0.6%, or 1.6% excluding the sale of terminals. The performance was boosted by its Italian mobile launch, with revenues in France excluding terminal sales down 3.1%.

The company’s recent launch of its new range of boxes, the Freebox Delta and the Freebox One, came too late to have any real impact on the 2018 results. Free recently announced that it had surpassed the 100,000 subscriber milestone on sales of the high-end Freebox Delta.