Iliad gets boost from mobile sales in Q1, confirms 2015 outlook

Iliad reported a 7 per cent increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2015 due to strong mobile sales, and confirmed its target of achieving more than 10 per cent group EBITDA growth for the year as a whole.

The France-based company, which first launched its Free Mobile unit in January 2012, said revenue from the sale of mobile products and services rose by 18.5 per cent to €437.9 million ($497 million), with services revenue alone rising as much as 23 per cent. This compares to a negligible 0.3 per cent growth in the landline business. Consolidated group revenue reached almost €1.1 billion.

The number of mobile users increased by 420,000 in the quarter, taking the mobile user base to 10.5 million and representing a market share of more than 15 per cent. The total number of fixed and mobile users reached 16.5 million.

Iliad attributed the strong performance of its mobile business to its competitive pricing strategy, which has enabled Free Mobile to maintain strong sales momentum over 13 quarters. The company now allows subscribers to its fixed Freebox service to take out up to four Free Mobile plans at €15.99 a month, instead of the usual price of €19.99.

The company also still offers an entry-level plan for €2 a month or zero for existing subscribers, but reported a healthy rate of user migration to the €19.99 plan.

Although Free Mobile lacks the more sophisticated mobile offerings of rivals Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Numericable-SFR--which provide services such as free content and multi-SIM plans that allow data to be shared between a smartphone and a tablet--it remains a tough act to follow in terms of its low-cost pricing.

The company is now focusing on expanding its 3G and 4G networks. It said it deployed more than 950 new 4G sites in the first quarter of 2015 compared with 400 in the same period a year ago. Its target is to cover 60 per cent of France's population with 4G by the end of 2015.

In April, Free Mobile also said its 3G network now covers 78 per cent of France's population; it aims to cover 90 per cent by January 2018. By that point, a national roaming agreement with Orange for 2G and 3G services is also due to expire.

For more:
- see this Iliad release

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