Telekom Austria’s mobile arm, mobilkom austria, posted revenues of EUR1.062 billion (USD1.298 billion) for the first six months of this year, up 4.2% compared to the corresponding period of 2004, as strong growth from international operations offset a slowdown in the heavily saturated Austrian wireless market. Group EBITDA rose by 6.7% to EUR415 million, and EBIT improved by 12.3% to EUR238 million thanks to rising revenues and the one-time effects of asset sales. Operating costs stood at EUR824.1 million, up 2.1% as a result of higher interconnection fees and an increase in costs for high-quality handsets.
At the end of June 2005 the mobilkom austria group reported more than five million wireless subscribers in its four countries of operation – Austria, Croatia (VIPnet), Slovenia (Si.mobil) and Liechtenstein (mobilkom liechtenstein) – boosting its total base by 4.7% in the first half of the year, despite what it termed ‘difficult trading conditions’. In its home market, mobilkom austria added 127,000 subscribers in 1H ’05 to lift its total to 3.3 million, a market share of 39.8% (down from 42.3% a year earlier). However, the company reported that pricing pressure from its four rival network operators, two MVNOs and two service providers, was having a negative impact on Austrian sales. Wireless penetration reached 101.2% in the first half of the year, up 9.4% year-on-year. On a brighter note, VIPnet in Croatia increased its customer base by 7.1% to end June with 1.3 million users, a market share of 44.7%, while Si.mobil maintained its 23.4% share of the Slovenian sector with 368,100 subscribers (+1.8%). In Liechtenstein the cellco’s local subsidiary increased its market share by 2.5% to 13.9%, adding around 700 new users to end June with 3,700 subscribers.
The mobilkom austria group has also welcomed a new member in the shape of Mobiltel Bulgaria. The unit joined in July following mobilkom’s takeover of Bulgaria’s leading mobile operator in December 2004. Mobiltel controlled more than 62.4% of the local market at the end of June 2005, and claimed more than 3.2 million customers.