Venezuela’s dominant telco CANTV has posted a net loss of VEB24.2 billion (USD15 million) for the third quarter of 2003, down from a profit of VEB22.2 billion in the same period of 2002, in line with expectations as the country’s economy continues to suffer. Venezuela has been the scene of economic and political unrest since President Hugo Chávez came to office in 1998, and in December 2002 a national strike broke out after he appointed a new board of directors at state oil monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela. CANTV posted non-operating expenses of VEB57 billion, compared to VEB8.5 billion a year earlier, while revenues stood at VEB751 billion, down 8.7%. Local and long-distance turnover fell by 15.6% to VEB276 billion, international long-distance sales dropped 7% to VEB27.8 billion, while fixed-to-mobile revenues were down 24% at VEB134 billion. Data revenues, on the other hand, saw a 29% increase over the year, reaching VEB68 billion at the end of September, whilst internet turnover grew by 12% to VEB18 billion.
CANTV reported a fixed line customer base of 2.7 million, unchanged on the previous year, while mobile subscribers fell by 2.5% to 2.45 million. Internet subscribers grew 17% in the twelve-month period, to 218,654, while ADSL lines almost doubled to 66,752.