Telecom Argentina yesterday posted a 12% rise in third quarter revenues to ARS961 million, before revealing plans to double capital expenditure to around USD120 million next year, with an emphasis on its buoyant internet and mobile operations. Chief Financial Officer Pedro Insussary told reporters that Telecom would raise capex to 10% of full year revenues in 2004, rising to 15% in 2005. The operator reported a loss of ARS509 million (USD177 million) for the three months to the end of September, down from a net income of ARS494 million in the corresponding period of 2002. It blamed the turnaround on the depreciation of the Argentine peso against the US dollar; in 3Q 2002 EBITDA was boosted by an ARS1 billion gain in financial and holding results.
Third quarter revenues were driven by a 34% year-on-year increase in mobile revenues to ARS305 million and a 7% increase in basic telephony turnover to ARS503 million. Telecom ended September 2003 with 2.94 million mobile customers, a rise of almost 10%, and 3.6 million fixed line customers, the same as the year before. Monthly fixed and mobile average revenues per user (ARPU) both increased, the former by 11% to ARS40 and the latter by 23% to ARS32. The number of ADSL lines in service rose from 28,000 to 40,000 over the year.