Convergent offer unveiled
Orange brand to be adopted on 9 May 2016
Positive postpaid momentum sustained
Mobistar getting set for its 2016-2020 development plan
Brussels, 22 April 2016 – Today, Mobistar (Euronext Brussels: MOBB) publishes its results for the first quarter of 2016.
Mobistar once again delivered solid financial results in the first quarter of 2016 as mobile service revenues increased by 2.9 % year-on-year to 254.3 million euros, supported by Mobistar’s successful postpaid data monetisation. This growth is free of any regulatory impact as roaming cuts will only apply as of the second quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, Mobistar continued focusing on the retention and development of its postpaid customer base, with the postpaid/prepaid customer mix further improving to 73/27 % as of 31 March 2016.
Mobistar’s underlying restated EBITDA increased by 4.1 % year-on-year to 72.7 million euros in the first quarter of 2016, a result of higher revenues and margin expansion through on-going cost optimisations. Accounting timing differences related to the Walloon pylon tax provision and the IFRIC 21 standard impacted the reported restated EBITDA of 53.8 million euros. In total 18.9 million euros incremental operational taxes were recognized in the first quarter of 2016, instead of having been spread over the different quarters, which was the case in 2015.
As of 31 March 2016, Mobistar’s retail customer base in Belgium stood at 3,766.6 thousand. Mobistar continued to attract and retain postpaid customers with 8.4 thousand net additions in the first quarter of 2016, thanks to the enhanced attractiveness of its mobile business. This was the fourth consecutive quarter in which Mobistar reported positive postpaid net customer additions.
4G leadership confirmed in Belgium with outdoor- and indoor coverage reaching 99 % and 88 % of the population respectively at the end of the first quarter of 2016. 4G smartphone penetration advanced with nearly 1.1 million customers equipped with a 4G smartphone at the end of March. Total 4G traffic powered forward and represented 68 % of total traffic in March, leading total mobile data traffic to increase by close to 80 % year-on-year.
The ARPU trajectory pursued its positive development with an increase of the blended ARPU in Belgium of 1.3 % year-on-year to 24.0 euros. Mobistar postpaid ARPU in Belgium rose to its highest level in more than 2 years to reach 28.7 euros in the first quarter of 2016, on the back of growing mobile data demand across the customer base.
On 1 March 2016, Mobistar unveiled its internet & digital TV offering. At the end of the first quarter of 2016, 44 % of the Belgian households, i.e. 2.1 million households, were already eligible.
Sustained by the growth of its services revenues, Mobistar reiterates its full year 2016 outlook with a restated EBITDA ranging between 270 and 290 million euros excluding cable costs. Mobistar also expects its mobile only capex to be about 145 million euros in 2016, in addition to the capitalization of the customer equipment and installation costs related to its convergent internet and digital TV offering.
Mobistar’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in favour of adopting the Orange brand in Belgium. Since then the operational implementation has progressed swiftly. Mobistar employees are enthusiastic about the adoption of the Orange brand. As of 9 May 2016, the Orange brand will be deployed for all product lines, thereby invigorating the new convergent positioning of Mobistar.
Mobistar’s Chief Executive Officer Jean Marc Harion commented: “We have reached an important turning point in the first quarter of 2016 with a return to growth in mobile service revenues and underlying restated EBITDA. We have been focusing on strengthening the core attractiveness of our mobile business, while implementing the last piece of our convergent strategy. Furthermore, I am extremely happy with the promising start of our internet and digital TV offering. Our customers tell us that we are delivering an excellent experience at an attractive price. This quarter is also the first quarter of our new 2016-2020 development plan, which is centered on growing our mobile value market share, by leveraging both the increasing customer appetite for mobile data and the positioning of Orange as a convergent operator in Belgium”.