Belgian full-service telecoms operator Proximus has reported group underlying revenues of EUR1.367 billion (USD1.657 billion) for the first quarter of 2021, a 1.9% decline from EUR1.393 billion in the year-ago period, which it attributed to a reduction in roaming and other interconnect revenues, ICT contract delays and residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this headwind, Consumer segment revenues increased by 0.8% year-on-year to EUR670 million, thanks to a growing customer base for its higher value convergent products, mitigating a 1.2% decline in Enterprise revenues to EUR339 million. Group underlying EBITDA totalled EUR446 million, a 3.9% y-o-y drop from EUR464 million, while the EBITDA margin stood at 32.6% compared with 33.3% in 1Q20. Capex (excluding spectrum and football rights) in the reporting period totalled EUR225 million, down 2.7% y-o-y due to the timing of content contract renewals, and was driven by investment in company transformation, IT developments and fibre-optic network deployment, with the latter representing 28% of total capex. Over the first quarter, Proximus’ fibre network passed an additional 73,000 premises to bring its footprint to 533,000 homes and businesses.
Across the group as a whole, Proximus ended the reporting period with 2.148 million broadband subscribers (a 2.8% rise from 2.090 million in 1Q20), 1.690 million TV customers (down 8.6%) and 2.148 million fixed voice customers (an 8.6% decline). The company reported a wireless subscriber base (excluding M2M) of 4.913 million, compared with 4.824 million twelve months earlier, with a 4.4% y-o-y increase in post-paid customers (4.314 million) offsetting a 13.7% decline in pre-paid subscribers. Average monthly mobile data usage per customer notably rose to 4,489MB in 1Q21, compared with 3,930MB twelve months earlier.
Commenting on the results, Proximus CEO Guillaume Boutin said: ‘We kept a strong pace in executing our #inspire2022 strategy: fast moving on our fibre rollout, keeping up a good commercial performance while managing the transformation in our Enterprise segment … Overall our domestic revenue, group EBITDA and capex are on track to meet our expectations, and we are therefore comfortable in reiterating our 2021 full-year guidance.’