Tele2’s Dutch unit has reported rising first-quarter sales, driven by the popularity of its mobile services, despite a decline in returns from both the fixed and broadband segments. Tele2 NL booked revenue of EUR157 million (USD206 million) in the three months to 31 March 2013, up 2.7% year-on-year, as mobile turnover doubled to EUR42 million. This helped to offset a 12% y-o-y decline in the broadband division – to EUR81 million – and a bigger, 17% fall in telephony revenues to EUR17 million. Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped 19% on an annualised basis to EUR37 million, impacted by higher costs for mobile subsidies. The company also reported a sharp increase in capital expenditure in 1Q13, related to its EUR170 million acquisition of 4G mobile licences; Tele2 NL plans to launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) services ‘as soon as possible’ it said.
Operationally speaking, Tele2 NL added a net 57,000 new mobile users in the first three months of this year, for a total of 535,000. However, the telco said that it shed 14,000 broadband subscribers in the period under review, to close out March with 407,000. The company attributed the fall to a general shift in the market from DSL to fibre, although it reiterated that its performance in the business segment continues to be ‘solid’. Tele2 NL’s fixed telephony base also fell by 11,000 connections in January-March, to 130,000. Nevertheless, the operator reaffirmed its FY2013 guidance of mobile revenue of between EUR188 million-EUR200 million, an EBITDA loss of EUR6 million to EUR9 million, and CAPEX of between EUR235 million and EUR295 million. Tele2 hopes that the mobile arm will reach an EBITDA break-even point within three years of launching its new 4G network.