mmO2 makes inroads in Germany and Ireland, but stumbles on home front

4 Feb 2004

UK-based cellco mmO2 saw its European customer base grow by 4.4% in the final three months of 2003 but still slipped into fourth place in its domestic market behind rival T-Mobile. The company, which operates in the UK, Ireland and Germany, beat analyst’s expectations by adding 855,000 new customers in its fiscal third quarter, to take its total to 20.1 million; it had been expected to reach around 19.9 million.

O2 Germany added 335,000 users in the three months to 31 December 2003, including 252,000 contract customers, to take its customer base to 5.59 million; blended average revenue per user (ARPU) was EUR360, up 6.5% year on year. The cellco’s closest German rival, E-Plus, added just 242,000 subscribers in the quarter. O2 Ireland added 91,000 pre-pay users and 5,000 contract subscribers in the period, to take its total to 1.37 million and close the gap on the country’s market leader Vodafone to 500,000 customers; blended ARPU increased 2.4% to EUR556.

In the UK O2 added 430,000 net new users in the quarter – split two-thirds pre-paid to one-third post-paid – to take its total active customer base to 13.05 million. Blended ARPU was up 8.6% to GBP264 (EUR387), driven by usage of its O2 Active data service, launched in July 2003; data accounted for 21.2% of service revenues in the period, up from 17.4% twelve months earlier. But the cellco’s UK subscriber growth was not enough to keep it ahead of rival T-Mobile, which boasted more than double O2’s quarterly additions to leapfrog the operator into third place with 13.6 million customers.

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