Swiss mobile provider Salt has booked a 10.3% year-on-year drop in first-quarter revenue to CHF248 million (USD255 million), as it continues to see a downward trend in its subscriber base and ARPU. Salt’s wireless customer base shrank by 5.6% compared to Q1 2016, falling from 1.982 million to 1.871 million. A small increase of 3.5% y-o-y in post-paid subscriptions to 1.207 million fell short of offsetting the 18.6% decline in pre-paid users, to 663,000. Exacerbating the matter, the cellco also reported far fewer post-paid net additions in Q1 2017, counting 4,500 net new contract subscribers during the quarter compared to 16,100 in the corresponding period of 2016. Despite the improvement in the makeup of Salt’s subscriber base, price erosion has seen the cellco report steady reductions in ARPU, and in Q1 2017 mobile ARPU fell to CHF31.9 from CHF34.2 a year earlier. On a more positive note, however, the operator reduced costs across the board – including interconnection fees, commercial expenses, labour and other costs – by approximately CHF28 million, leading it to report flat EBITDA of CHF101 million and a slight improvement in its EBITDA margin to 40.7% (36.3% in Q1 2016).
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