State-backed full-service provider Swisscom has booked a net revenue of CHF8.69 billion (USD8.65 billion) for the nine months to 30 September 2018, up from CHF8.60 billion a year earlier. EBITDA was down by 3.7% year-on-year to CHF3.32 billion, however, whilst net profit for the period dropped by 4.4% to CHF1.21 billion. Swisscom attributed the decline primarily to ongoing competitiveness in its core Swiss market, the impact of which was partially offset by continuing growth at its Italian division, Fastweb. The operator counted a total of 11.976 million RGUs across its Swiss operations, down from 12.163 million in September 2017, although the annual losses were entirely in the fixed telephony segment. On a more positive note, the company noted that its convergence packages have seen strong growth, with 1.642 million mobile lines forming part of an ‘inOne’ package – compared to 708,000 in September 2017 – whilst 1.971 million broadband lines were part of bundled packages, up from 1.850 million a year earlier.
Swisscom stressed that it is striving to defend it ‘technology leadership,’ outlining the success of its infrastructure development programmes. In the fixed segment, the operator notes that it was able to deliver broadband speeds of up to 50Mbps to around 4.1 million homes by the end of September 2018, whilst 2.8 million homes could receive connections with data transfer rates of up to 100Mbps. Swisscom is looking to provide fibre coverage in every municipality in Switzerland by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, Swisscom’s 4G network has 99% coverage, the operator claimed, with 80% of the population able to utilise access speeds of up to 300Mbps whilst download rates of 500Mbps were available to 40%. Swisscom has also rolled out Gigabit LTE to eleven towns and cities, plus 15 Swisscom stores and plans to extend the system to provide 30% population coverage by end-2018.Finally, the cellco touted its progress towards a 5G launch, with CEO Urs Schaeppi saying: ‘Together with Ericsson, we set up the 5G network in Burgdorf; the first complete network that meets the latest 5G standard. Our investment in the network is paying off. We will continue driving 5G development forward [and] in so doing, we are making an important contribution to the competitiveness of the Swiss business community.’ Swisscom is aiming to provide partial 5G coverage at a handful of locations by the end of the year; 5G spectrum is due to be made available at auction in early 2019.