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Liberty Global boosted by fixed-mobile convergence

Liberty Global saw strong momentum for fixed-mobile convergence in the quarter to March, with a 3% improvement in its FMC penetration rate.

The company gained 38,000 customer relationships over the period, up from a loss of 19,000 for the prior year, again attributed to FMC.

The bulk of adds came from the UK and Ireland, where 24,000 customers were added to Virgin Media’s Lightning footprint and 7,000 to its legacy network footprint. However, the number of revenue-generating units in the UK fell by 56,800 due to video losses.

Growth in customer numbers also came from Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland, where the unified Sunrise UPC gained 5,000 customers.

Belgium’s Telenet lost 5,000 customers in Q1, which Liberty said was an improvement on the 8,000 lost last year.

Overall, Liberty Global had 11.34 million fixed line customers at the end of the q uarter, including 10.14 million broadband, 744,000 basic video and 7.58 million ‘enhanced’ video customers, and 7.6 million phone customers. Mobile customers numbered 8.62 million.

Total RGUs fell by 17,300 as video losses offset gains elsewhere.

Revenue was up 25.7% on the acquisition of Sunrise to US$3.615 billion, excluding the VodafoneZiggo JV in the Netherlands. On a like for like basis, revenue was up 0.4%.

Adjusted EBITDA was down 1.7% to US$1.367 billion.

CEO Mike Fries said that Liberty was “encouraged by the operational progress made during the first quarter of 2021, allowing us to carry forward the momentum we built last year”.

He said that “operational momentum continues to strengthen” in Switzerland while Virgin Media “demonstrated solid operational execution” ahead of its merger with 02 in the UK.