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EE posts record 4G mobile take-up, but revenue declines

Earnings slip 3.6 percent in first quarter
Mon Apr 28 2014, 14:09
Smartphone dispalying EE 4G logo

EE HAS POSTED its best quarter yet for new 4G customers in its first quarter financial results despite a decline in turnover of 3.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

While EE said the decline in first quarter revenues to £1.55bn was attributable to mobile call termination and roaming price cuts, it managed to add 889,000 customers to 4G plans since the last quarter of 2013, giving it a total of 2.9 million users for the superfast network, with 5,100 companies such as Fujitsu, Europcar and NEC also using the faster speeds.

EE said it is on track to double its 4G customer base to six million users on superfast mobile internet speeds by the end of the year.

"50 percent of new and renewing (Orange and T-Mobile) postpaid customers selected 4G, with strong uptake of double speed 4GEE Extra plans," EE said in its earnings report. "Speed-tiered price plans based on network differentiation [are] driving growth in average access fees."

While EE had 30.7 million users by the end of March, including 3.66 million mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) customers - up 3.2 percent on last year - its prepaid customer base fell by 321,000. This was due to a general decline in the market as more mobile users shift from pay as you go to term contracts, it said.

However, EE has also struggled with customer satisfaction recently. Orange topped the pay monthly mobile moan list, published by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, by a narrow margin of 0.12 over sister company T-Mobile at 0.11 complaints per thousand customers. The two EE networks' complaint levels were the only two of the six networks Ofcom tracked that registered above the calculated average.

EE switched on 4G connectivity in its 200th UK town on Friday, now covering over 70 percent of the British population.

Following a report last week that a Welsh street suffers from the UK's worst broadband speeds, EE announced on Friday that Rhyl, a seaside town in Wales, became the 200th town to benefit from its 4G connectivity. This move sees Ryhl become the first Welsh town to boast access to LTE speeds.

As well as Rhyl, EE also switched on 4G connectivity in Armadale, Bishop Auckland, Brighouse, Cumbernauld, Hamilton Kirkintilloch, Larne, Newry, Peterlee, Staines, Stockton on Tees, and Washington. µ


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