Swiss full-service provider Sunrise registered total revenue of CHF459 million (USD473 million) for the first three months of 2020, a 2.8% increase from the same period in 2019. Sunrise booked increases in service revenue from each of the mobile (up 1.4% to CHF306 million), landline (up 0.5% to CHF71 million) and landline internet (up 10.6% to CHF82 million) segments, attributing the uptick to steady subscriber growth and the acquisition of major new B2B customers. In the mobile sector, Sunrise counted a total of 1.925 million post-paid subscribers, equating to an increase of 8.7% year-on-year, although pre-paid lines dropped by 10.9% y-o-y to 532,000 in Q1 2020 as users continued to migrate to post-paid plans. Fixed broadband and TV subscriptions, meanwhile, grew by 7.4% and 15.2% to 507,000 and 291,000, respectively. The company also recorded 28,000 net fixed voice line additions, bringing the total user base to 509,000 at end-March 2020. Sunrise attributed the subscriber take-up to its bundled offerings, in particular TV content, a new over-the-top (OTT) TV product and promotions. Adjusted EBITDA for the three month period was CHF168 million – up from CHF158 million in Q1 2019 – whilst net income fell from CHF35 million to CHF22 million over the same period. The company explained the drop in profit as the result of gains in the year-ago period from the sale of tower assets.
Regarding the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the operator noted that it had begun to see some impacts in March, with roaming revenues in the second half of that month decreasing but compensated by higher international and national call volumes. A similar pattern continued into early April with very low levels of roaming, whilst call volumes remained elevated, albeit at a lower than in March.
Sunrise also confirmed that its 5G network rollout was on-track and by early May covered 535 towns and cities with 5G in the 3.5GHz band, whilst the company is aiming to extend its 700MHz footprint to 90% of the population by Q3 2020. CEO Andre Krause commented on the development: ‘Our accelerated rollout positions Switzerland as a European leader in terms of 5G coverage. However, with its latest decision of not changing the limit values for non-ionising radiation and the delay of the execution guidelines for handling adaptive antennas, the Federal Council continues to make the 5G rollout challenging. This will worsen the quality of Switzerland’s networks and endanger digitisation. Switzerland has already been left behind in terms of fibre optic connections.’