Ireland’s former monopoly operator Eircom has reported an 8% year-on-year fall in net profits to EUR119 million (USD159.3 million) for its fiscal second-quarter ended 31 December 2012, on revenues that declined by 6% to EUR361 million. Operating costs reached EUR157 million, a 7% improvement on the year-earlier period as the telco maintained its focus on reducing overall costs. Despite the relatively poor performance, Eircom CEO Herb Hribar said the carrier’s business continued to perform in line with expectations. The company closed out 2012 with a total of 2.442 million fixed and mobile customers (retail and wholesale), of which 2.050 million were fixed retail and 1.086 million (+1% y-o-y) were mobile users. Sales derived from cellular activities declined by 5% on an annualised basis, although net income was up 2%, it said. In the high speed internet access segment, Eircom added a net 2,000 retail connections to end 2012 with a total of 461,000 – 1% higher than at the same time a year ago. The incumbent noted that the period under review marked the first quarter of growth in broadband for the past seven quarters. Sales from fixed voice fell 7% in the fiscal second-quarter, reflecting a corresponding 12% fall in net income from its fixed line business.
Commenting on the results, Hribar said that his company continues to expand the operational footprint of its fibre-optic network, from one million to 1.2 million homes and businesses. ‘This incorporates a further additional 78 communities throughout the country and when completed, will provide high speed broadband connections to 60% of homes and businesses in Ireland,’ he said. Hribar went on to say that Eircom intends to begin trialling 4G/LTE technology in the next view months, with a view to inaugurating commercial services by the summer of 2013.