Hutchison Telecommunications Australia has more than doubled its customer base during the year to the end of June 2004, with connections to its ‘3’ and Orange networks reaching 626,476, up 110% on the previous year’s figure of 297,296. In doing so Orange and 3 have stolen market share away from the other mobile operators, with Vodafone estimated to have been the worst hit; Hutch claims that Vodafone lost around 130,000 customers in the first six months of the year. According to Hutchison’s CEO Kevin Russell, the high growth shows that the concept of 3G is finally starting to catch on in Australia. 3 claimed the highest ARPU in the market – AUD85 at the end of June – with Orange ARPU standing at USD57 at the same date.
Hutchison’s turnover rocketed by 155% to AUD293.9 million in the year to end of June. Of the total, 3 accounted for AUD144.6 million, with Orange adding AUD159.3 million. EBITDA for Orange stood at AUD13.1 million, and although 3 suffered a loss of AUD159.2 billion, the operator said that this was expected, as 3 is still in its start-up phase. It expects to see an improvement in EBITDA in 2005.
Hutchison, which competes with Telstra Mobile, Optus Mobile and Vodafone in the Australian market, is currently the smallest operator with a share of just 3.6% at the end of June 2004. Yesterday it signed a five-year AUD1.5 billion bank facility with a panel of local and international banks. It also has a credit facility available from Hutchison Whampoa.