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TV subs up despite larger than expected losses for Cellcom

Cellcom has seen a significant year-over-year increase in TV subscribers.

The mobile operator, Israel’s largest, saw an increase of 22.6% to its TV subscribers, up from 195,000 to 239,000 year-over-year. In Q2, that increase was around 12,000 subscribers.

However, this boost will serve as little comfort to the company that saw net losses of NIS35 million (€8.91 million) for the quarter, significantly larger than the expected NIS22.5 million (€5.74 million) loss.

While mobile operations are Cellcom’s primary business, the company also provides OTT TV and internet – both of which served as the sole bright spots in an otherwise poor set of results. 

Company CFO Shlomi Fruhling attributed the losses to “a decrease in operators liaison activity”, however he said this was “offset by the continued growth in internet and TV services”.

While TV subscribers increased, Cellcom’s mobile subscribers dropped by 2.3% year-over-year from 2.81 million to 2.745 million. Mobile subscribers did see an uptick of 45,000 during the quarter. However, the company notes that it deleted 153,000 subscribers from its subscriber base count due to a change in its counting method, with those subscribers generating “negligible revenues”.

Earlier this week, Cellcom completed a deal with Israel Broadband Co (IBC) to acquire 70% of the company. IBC has exclusive rights to deploy fibre optics over state-owned infrastructure. 

With the deal completed, Cellcom predicts that 750,000 households will have access to its fibre network within five years.