Greek mobile operator TIM Hellas reported total operating revenues of EUR839.8 million in 2004, up 3.9% year-on-year, and a 3.1% rise in service revenues to EUR785.5 million, despite a 31% decrease in fixed-to-mobile interconnection tariffs and a small fall in subscriber numbers from 2.4 million to 2.32 million. The rise in total operating revenues was attributed to a 29.6% increase in monthly fees, due to the popularity of the company’s bundled-minutes packages, higher mobile-to-mobile (M2M) interconnection revenues (up 34.6%), and increased handset sales, which rose by 16.5% year-on-year to EUR54.3 million. EBITDA for the full year fell by EUR32.1 million to EUR243.6 primarily the result of a lower contribution from fixed-to-mobile interconnection and one-off costs associated with rebranding, the Mobitel case and compensation expenses relating to a share capital increase in November 2004.
Commenting on the fall in subscribers, TIM Hellas said that it was due to an ‘overall lower pre-paid customer base’ and competition in a mature market. At the end of December the cellco said that 34.6% of its customer base was made up of pre-pay users, although the figure compares unfavourably with the 34% figure reported a year ago. Nonetheless, TIM Hellas strengthened its retention of higher value users in 2004 – illustrated by higher cellphone usage – and reported a 13.9% rise in total traffic and a 25.5% increase in monthly AMOU to 106.4 minutes. Consequently, monthly blended ARPU rose by 13.7% to EUR27.1, supported by a rise in contract ARPU to EUR49.9 (12.4%).
The Greek company’s financial results come in the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Telecom Italia (TI) is contemplating an exit from Greece by selling its 80.7% stake in TIM Hellas. According to Dow Jones, private equity firm Apax Partners is among a list of companies reportedly interested in buying the operator.