EE says 4G now accounts for over 52% of its mobile customer base

EE said 4G customers now represent more than 52 per cent of its total mobile customer base, noting that it has doubled the number of 4G customers over the last 12 months.

The company said it gained 1.7 million new 4G users in the third quarter of 2015, taking the total 4G base to 12.6 million and keeping it on track to reach its target of 14 million 4G customers by the end of the year.

The growth in 4G users is still failing to translate into revenue growth when the impact of regulatory measures is included. The company said operating revenue was down 0.6 per cent year-on-year at £1.5 billion (€2 billion/$2.3 billion).

Nevertheless, EE embraced a 1.2 per cent rise in underlying revenue growth excluding regulatory effects, and also said 63 per cent of its customer base is now on higher-value post-paid subscriptions.

Jefferies International analysts said the company had recovered commercial momentum, "reporting a strong +147,000 postpay net adds in 3Q. Management attributes this to network quality, in particular in 4G, and also improved customer service (onshoring call centres, higher online self-service use)."

Neal Milsom, the CFO of EE, said the company had seen strong commercial momentum due to demand from both business and consumers.

"Our broader portfolio has boosted total connections to 31.3 million. Our new Connected products range, combined with a mix of premium and low cost 4G devices, now offer more choice than ever for our customers," Milsom explained.

The Connected products range includes devices such as the 4GEE Action Cam and now has a customer base of over 1 million. EE also noted that the Multiple Product Attach Rate (MPAR), which tracks average number of connected products adopted per postpaid voice customer, is up 2.3 per cent year on year to 1.24 devices per user.

In terms of 4G coverage, EE said the network now covers 93 per cent of the UK population, which is claims is 20 per cent more than competitors. So-called "double-speed" 4G is available to 75 per cent of the population, while LTE Advanced services have so far been rolled out in some sites in London.

The company further noted that trials of voice over LTE (VoLTE) are continuing ahead of a commercial launch, although the company had previously expected to launch VoLTE during the summer. It launched voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) services in the first quarter, and noted that the Wi-Fi calling service has 1.7 million activated users with more than 125 million Wi-Fi calls made since launch.

EE is also still in the process of being sold by Orange and Deutsche Telekom to BT, although a regulatory decision on whether such a deal should be permitted go ahead is likely to take several more months.

For more:
- see the EE results

Related articles:
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UK asks to take over Three/O2 review, as Vestager cautions against 4 becoming 3
Ofcom makes final decision on UK spectrum fee hike
Three UK vaults over rivals with '4G Super Voice' VoLTE service
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