3UK's 'All you can eat' data plans driving growth

3UK's unlimited data plans continue to attract attention, with the operator boosting its subscriber numbers by 18 per cent in 2011 to 8.2 million.

Dyson

The company also revealed revenues were up 14 per cent to £1.787 billion and the operator recorded its second profitable year since starting operations in 2003 with an EBITDA of £191 million, up 16 per cent on 2010.

"Consumer demand for mobile data has exploded and smartphones now make up over 99 per cent of our handset sales," 3UK CEO David Dyson said in a statement.  "This combined with our all-you-can-eat data offers means we are well placed to continue our growth trajectory."

The company, which is the smallest of the UK's four mobile operators, has campaigned strongly to recruit mobile data users, claiming that its 3G-only network was designed from the beginning to handle data volumes.

"We've spent years building the right network, building the right regulatory environment, and we are now starting to see the fruits of some very hard work," 3UK CFO Richard Woodward told The Guardian.

Separately, Woodward told Bloomberg: "Growth is sustainable, profitable and not stopping. We have no intention of slowing down," as the company's offer differentiates it from other operators.

Reaction from industry observers was positive, with Strategy Analytics telecoms analyst Phil Kendall telling Mobile Today: "3UK's results compare well to its competitors. The fact it has grown its customer base by 18 per cent and kept ARPU falls to 3 per cent is encouraging, particularly when you compare that to O2, where ARPU fell 8 per cent and revenues fell 2 per cent last year."

Kendall added that the operator's postpaid growth was also encouraging. "Obviously the One Plan and unlimited data offerings is resonating well with consumers and holding up 3UK's revenues."

For more:
- see this Guardian article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Mobile Today article

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O2 Germany CEO promises quick fix to network overload, but doubts remain
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