EE has announced solid 4G subscriber growth in the first three months of 2014, having added 889,000 LTE accesses in the 1Q 2014 to bring its total to 2.9 million. With the company noting that 50% of new and renewing (Orange and T-Mobile) post-paid customers had opted for a 4G plan in the quarter, and saying its speed-tiered price plans were driving growth in average access fees, it claims it is on target to reach six million subscribers by the end of 2014. At the end of March 2014 meanwhile EE’s total mobile subscriber base totalled 30.718 million, down by 2.3% from the 31.439 million it reported a year earlier. Fixed broadband customer numbers, however, were up year-on-year, standing at 745,000 compared to 694,000 at end-March 2013.
In terms of the company’s financial performance in the three months ended 31 March 2014, total turnover was actually 3.6% lower than in the same period a year earlier, at GBP1.548 billion (USD2.56 billion). Operating revenue declined by 1.7% year-on-year to GBP1.486 billion, although the company noted excluding regulatory mobile termination rate (MTR) and roaming cuts it would have actually increased by 0.8%. In line with the company’s lower overall mobile subscriber base, mobile service revenues for the first quarter of 2014 were GBP1.387 billion, 2.5% lower than the year-ago period. Average revenue per user (ARPU) is, however, on the rise, in part perhaps due to the uptake of the company’s 4G services, and stood at GBP18.7 per month in 1Q14 against GBP18.3 in 1Q13.
Commenting on the quarterly performance, Neal Milsom, EE’s chief financial officer, noted: ‘We are delivering strong, consistent commercial performance and continue to successfully create value through our award winning network. We signed up nearly 900,000 4G customers in a single quarter, with over one in four new customers opting for EE’s exclusive double speed 4GEE Extra plans. In line with our vision to provide the best network and best service, we’re also further improving customer service across all channels to support our long term growth.’