Israel’s Cellcom has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2019, reporting a small decline in turnover and a net loss. In the three-month period under review Cellcom generated a total turnover of ILS928 million (USD256 million), down 0.5% year-on-year from ILS933 million, while service revenues declined by 3.3% to ILS678 million. The operator noted that in the fixed line sector it had recorded continued growth, though this was more than offset by a reduction in revenues from cellular services ‘as a result of seasonality and the increased competition in the market’.
Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2019 increased by 19.8% on an annualised basis, to ILS224 million, while adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenues in 1Q19 totalled 24.1%, up from 20.0% in the corresponding period a year earlier. However, having recorded a net profit of ILS7 million in 1Q18, the company reported a net loss of ILS16 million in its latest fiscal quarter.
In operational terms, at 31 March 2019 Cellcom had 2.853 million mobile subscribers on its books, up from 2.822 million a year earlier, although the quarterly churn rate increased to 11.0% in 1Q19, from 9.5% in 1Q18. Monthly ARPU continued to decline, meanwhile, falling to ILS47.2 in the opening quarter of 2019, compared to ILS51.8 in the corresponding period of 2018. Cellcom said the drop in ARPU ‘resulted mainly from the ongoing erosion in the prices of cellular services’. More positively, the number of ‘internet infrastructure’ subscribers continued to rise, reaching 278,000 at end-March 2019, up from 235,000 a year earlier, while pay-TV accesses rose to 227,000 (Mar-18: 184,000).