The Spanish mobile operator Telefónica Móviles has seen fourth quarter net profits fall 21% to EUR277.4 million thanks to stiff competition at home and costs related to its expansion in Latin America. Operating profits for the three months to the end of December fell 11% year-on-year to EUR665.8 million. While the acquisition of eight cellular operators in central and south America impacted on earnings, the expansion boosted revenues, which rose from EUR2.77 billion to EUR3.59 billion. Subscriber numbers were also up, rising 44% from end-2003 to 74.4 million.
The eight cellular operators were acquired from BellSouth in a deal announced in March last year; the purchase of two more companies in Chile and Argentina did not close until January so their financial results and subscriber numbers have not been consolidated in the fourth quarter figures. Including these two, Telefónica Móviles now has more than 80 million mobile subscribers worldwide.