French cable operator Numericable is anticipating a continued decline in revenues at its newly acquired domestic cellco SFR until 2015, local news source BMFTV reports. According to an internal Numericable document seen by the media outlet, the broadband provider is forecasting that SFR will return to growth thanks to its introduction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, alongside less intense competition from Iliad (Free). ‘The aggressive 4G Free offers should have a more limited impact than 3G because Free’s 4G offer will be constrained by the limits of Free’s network – in [terms of the] number of antennas and frequency capacity’, the document notes.
Further, Numericable’s business plan indicates a planned reduction in combined investment from EUR1.93 billion in 2013 to EUR1.78 billion in 2016. The cableco also plans to migrate users of SFR’s fixed network across to its own fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure where possible, in a bid to reduce the unbundling cost payable to incumbent Orange France, while Competel’s DSL network, which targets business subscribers, will be shut down completely.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, SFR’s parent Vivendi announced on 5 April 2014 that its Supervisory Board had accepted a takeover offer for its domestic telecoms unit from Numericable (and its majority shareholder Altice Group of Luxembourg), which involves a EUR13.5 billion cash payment and gives Vivendi a 20% stake in the enlarged SFR-Numericable group. The acquisition is subject to union and regulatory approval.