Having published its financial results for the quarter ended 30 September 2013, Belgian fixed line incumbent Belgacom has said it is on track to meet its full year guidance. In the three month period under review, Belgacom revealed that it had generated turnover of EUR1.568 billion (USD2.08 billion), down 3.2% year-on-year, with the company saying that revenues had been impacted by regulatory measures for a total amount of EUR16 million. However, it noted that this was less significant compared with previous quarters, due to the first capping of retail data roaming rates
annualising on 1 July 2013. Aside from regulatory effects, Belgacom said that lower revenue from its ‘Consumer Business Unit’ could be attributed in part to the impact of the sale of some The Phone House stores, while its Enterprise Business Unit saw revenue declines, mainly due to customers increasingly taking up tariffs which included larger inclusive call volumes. Belgacom reported group EBITDA of EUR428 million for 3Q 2013, 7.7% lower than for the same period of 2012, while it said on a comparable basis (i.e. corrected for a net positive impact from litigation reversals on the variance) third-quarter EBITDA decline was down by 9%. CAPEX for the quarter, meanwhile, totalled EUR176 million, bringing year-to-date investment to EUR546 million, with Belgacom saying that the funds had been used to boost speeds and capacity on both its mobile and fixed networks, and in IT and network simplification projects, among other things.
With Belgacom saying that it ‘had been able to realise a turnaround in its mobile post-paid customer growth’ since launch revised tariffs in April 2013, and despite claiming that the third quarter was a seasonally slower commercial quarter, the telco said it had seen a solid increase in mobile post-paid accesses while the loss of pre-paid customers slowed. At end-September 2013 Belgacom had a total of 5.149 million mobile accesses, down marginally from 5.218 million, of which 3.560 million were residential and the remainder business users. Fixed broadband accesses stood at 1.660 million at the end of the quarter under review, up 2.2% year-on-year, while fixed voice lines in service fell to 2.958 million from 3.107 million a year earlier.
Separately, Belgacom’s mobile arm Proximus is said to have expanded its 4G LTE network coverage, with the infrastructure now covering a total of 213 cities and towns.