Vivendi Universal’s 56%-owned French telecoms subsidiary SFR Cegetel reported a 10% rise in revenues to EUR8.32 billion at the end of 2004, thanks to a strong performance from the company’s mobile business. The group’s wireless arm posted a 6% rise in revenues in the year to just over EUR7.18 billion, buoyed by subscriber gains and a rise in blended ARPU, and achieved despite the 12.5% cut in fixed-to-mobile termination rates that took effect from 1 January 2004. According to the French regulator ART, SFR (including SRR, its operation in Reunion and Mayotte) led the pack with a 38% market share at the end of 2004, having added 1,095,000 new net customers over the year to increase its subscriber base by 7% to 15.82 million. Taken alone, SFR controlled 35.5% of the market at the same date, up from 35.3% on 31 December 2003. On top of this, an improved customer mix – SFR reported that 60.7% of its base were post-paid users at 31 December 2004, compared to 57.7% a year earlier – helped drive annual rolling blended ARPU up 2% to EUR432. The figure was also bolstered by an increase in data services, and strengthened by the launch of UMTS services in November 2004.
SFR also reported encouraging growth of Vodafone Live! subscriptions, with more than 2.23 million customers recorded to the mobile multimedia services portal by end-2004. This contributed to an increase in data usage with 4.5 billion SMS and 37 million MMS messages sent by SFR users in 2004, and a 31% rise in data ARPU to EUR52. Data revenues represented 11.4% of network revenue in 2004, compared to 8.9% in 2003. Elsewhere, fixed telephony and internet activity contributed EUR1.13 billion to SFR Cegetel revenues, up 37% year-on-year, driven primarily by strong growth from retail and wholesale broadband internet activities and a solid performance from its corporate division.