Swisscom bottom line suffers as revenue growth slows

6 Feb 2014

Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telco by subscribers, has announced that net profits for 2013 slumped 6.6% year-on-year to CHF1.695 billion (USD1.875 billion), as price erosion and subscriber losses in certain sectors slowed the telco’s annual revenue growth to 0.4%, booking turnover of CHF11.434 billion. In its domestic mobile market, Swisscom’s ‘Infinity’ tariffs, which offer unlimited wireless data, have continued to drive subscriber growth to the detriment of ARPU. Swisscom’s wireless customer base totalled 6.407 million at end-2013, compared to 6.217 million a year earlier, but mobile revenues dipped to CHF2.782 billion from CHF2.932 billion the previous year, and CHF3.104 billion twelve months prior to that. Similarly, the increasing popularity of bundled services has led to a decrease in revenues from Swisscom Switzerland’s standalone broadband offerings, which booked turnover of CHF2.215 billion in 2013 (-10.3%). The total number of broadband accesses increased from to 1.727 million to 1.811 million, although single-play broadband subscriptions dropped to 810,000 from 939,000 a year earlier. Indeed, Swisscom Switzerland saw the total number of multi-play users cross the one million mark in Q4 2013, claiming 1.001 million subscribers to bundled services by the end of the year. Of that total, 205,000 were on quad-play tariffs (137,000 at end-2012), 517,000 took triple-play (403,000) packages and 279,000 had signed up to double-play services (248,000). Consequently, revenues from bundled services increased 32.5% y-o-y to CHF1.553 billion, largely offsetting losses elsewhere. In total, Swisscom Switzerland claimed 12.097 million revenue generating units (RGUs) as at end-2013, compared to 11.748 million a year earlier. The provider’s CAPEX in Switzerland dropped 18.1% to CHF1.516 billion in 2013, although this was due to a one-off payment of CHF360 million for mobile frequencies in 2012. Spending on fibre-optic infrastructure contracted by 7.9% to CHF292 million, while investment on wireless networks grew 19.9% as the operator built out its Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform.

Meanwhile, at its Italian subsidiary Fastweb, revenues dropped by 3.3% to EUR1.638 billion (USD2.214 billion), as growth in the residential broadband market failed to compensate for losses in the business, wholesale and hubbing spaces. Swisscom increased spending on Fastweb’s fibre infrastructure by 30.9% in 2013 to CHF695 million, fuelling subscriber growth of 9.9%, with the telco claiming 1.942 million accesses by year-end. The resultant revenue expansion was insufficient to balance out declines of 48.3%, 15.2% and 2.5% in the hubbing, wholesale and business markets, however.

Italy, Switzerland, Fastweb, Swisscom