State-backed full-service provider Swisscom has reported net profit of CHF1.67 billion (USD1.71 billion) for the full year 2019, up 9.7% from CHF1.52 billion in 2018. The operator booked a 2.2% dip in consolidated revenue to CHF11.45 billion, as growth in its wholesale and Fastweb divisions were insufficient to offset the decline in turnover from its Swiss retail and enterprise divisions. Cost reductions across the board, however, led to a 3.4% increase in annual EBITDA to CHF4.36 billion, with EBITDA margin improving from 36.0% to 38.1%.
Swisscom counted a total of 6.33 million mobile subscribers in its domestic market at end-December 2019, down slightly from 6.37 million a year earlier. Broadband lines remained static at 2.033 million – 99.3% of which were part of bundled products – although the proportion of broadband lines with download speeds in excess of 80Mbps grew to 70.9% from 61.0% a year earlier. Its Italian subsidiary Fastweb, meanwhile, recorded a total of 2.64 million broadband subscribers, up from 2.55 million at end-2018, whilst is wireless user base grew by 26.1% year-on-year to 1.81 million.
Regarding its network expansion and upgrade efforts, Swisscom reported that 2.5 million homes had access to download speeds of more than 200Mbps, including 1.5 million served by fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), with the company aiming to double its FTTH footprint by the end of 2025. Swisscom added that it expects to complete the transition to an all-IP system in Q1 2020, although the decommissioning of the old infrastructure is not scheduled for completion until the end of 2022. Commenting on the group’s results, CEO Urs Scheaeppi was quoted as saying: ‘We covered 90% of the Swiss population with a basic version of 5G as at the end of 2019. But to realise the full potential of 5G, new antenna sites and the conversion of existing systems are essential. The network is and remains the driving force of our success … The biggest challenges in 2020 remain market saturation, fierce competition and high price pressure.’