The UK-based mobile phone retailer and reseller Carphone Warehouse has announced a positive set of operating statistics in its fiscal second quarter trading update. The company, which began life as a cellular handset and accessory retailer but now acts as a mobile and fixed line service provider, says total mobile connections at its UK MVNO Fresh were up 25% to 1.55 million in the 13 weeks to 25 September. Of these, 710,000 were pre-paid customers and 690,000 were contract subscribers, while SIM-free sales account for a further 140,000 users.
The group’s chief executive, Charles Dunstone, commented: “All of our core businesses continue to perform well and trading over the first half has been ahead of our expectations. The mobile market remains buoyant and we have achieved further good growth in both subscription and pre-pay connections.” He added that he expects interim pre-tax profits to be at least GBP27 million, ahead of previous forecasts.
In the UK fixed line market, where Carphone Warehouse offers services under the TalkTalk brand, customer numbers have increased by 137,000 to 648,000. TalkTalk is expected to make an interim loss of around GBP6 million due to increased marketing expenditure in the first quarter, although the division traded profitably net of costs in August and September.
The UK fixed network operator Opal saw a 76.6% year-on-year increase in traffic and carried 2.21 billion switched minutes over the quarter. Excluding TalkTalk the increase in traffic was a more modest 18.7%. The Opal network provides services for around 20,000 corporate customers in the UK.
Outside the UK, Carphone Warehouse operates a range of mobile and fixed line resale businesses in Europe. TalkTalk was launched in Spain and Germany during the quarter and by the end of the period had 70,000 customers. European mobile subsidiaries such as the German reseller Hutchison Telecommunications claimed 747,000 subscribers by 25 September.