Mobile and internet prop up France Télécom’s disappointing 3Q results

29 Oct 2003

France Télécom has announced revenues of EUR11.65 billion for the three months to the end of September 2003, a fall of 2.7% from the EUR11.97 billion reported in the corresponding period of 2002, as depleted fixed line turnover continued to drag down buoyant performances by its mobile and internet arms. Revenues from France Télécom’s domestic fixed line voice and data services fell by 5.8% to EUR4.34 billion, due mainly to the company’s disposal of its Télédiffusion de France masts business in December 2002. Its overseas fixed line and data subsidiaries fared even worse, ending the quarter with revenues of EUR2.08 billion, down 15.6% on 2002 levels, compounded by the January 2003 sale of Dutch cable operator Casema.

In contrast, France Télécom’s mobile subsidiary Orange returned a solid set of results, with turnover rising by 4.2% to EUR4.59 billion. Constituting 40% of France Télécom’s total revenues, Orange is now the largest company division, surpassing the fixed line unit for the first time. During the quarter Orange France recorded sales of just under EUR2 billion, up almost 7%, helping offset a 4.6% fall in revenues to EUR1.47 billion at Orange UK. Revenues from Orange’s expanding range of subsidiaries elsewhere around the globe rose by more than 13% to EUR1.2 billion. During the quarter Orange added 1.325 million new customers to take its worldwide total to 46.9 million, up 8.6% from the year-earlier period. At the end of September 2003 Orange France claimed 19.6 million customers, an increase of 4.4%, with average revenue per user (ARPU) standing at EUR377, up from EU376 in Q2 and EUR375 in Q1. Contract users comprised 57.4% of the total, up from 54.6% in September 2002. Orange yesterday announced it was planning to launch third-generation mobile services in France and the UK in 3Q 2004, with rollout in Belgium and Switzerland to follow.

France Télécom’s internet arm Wanadoo reported the largest proportional rise in revenues of all the company’s divisions, reporting turnover of EUR639 million for the three months, an increase of 28.3% on the previous year’s figure of EUR498 million. Internet access, portals and e-commerce activities contributed EUR396 million, up 49.4%, whilst the directories business recorded sales of EUR243 million, up 4.3%. At 30 September 2003 Wanadoo claimed 8.89 million internet access customers across its European operations, of which 2.07 million were connected to broadband services. Its French customer base accounted for close to half the total at 4.36 million, including 1.56 million broadband subscribers, with its UK, Spanish and Dutch operations boasting 2.6 million, 1.42 million and 500,000 customers respectively.

France Télécom