Swisscom tests 450 Mbps LTE network, plans Wi-Fi calling launch

Swisscom said it is testing an LTE network offering data rates of up to 450 Mbps that it aims to launch by the year-end to meet growing mobile data demand.

The Swiss incumbent said the volume of mobile data transmitted in the first half of 2015 doubled year-on-year in its earnings announcement for the period. The operator's existing LTE network was available to 98 per cent of its subscribers by end-June, and it plans to cover 99 per cent of its user base with a 150 Mbps LTE network by end-2016 it said.

Mobile user numbers grew 111,000 year-on-year to 6.5 million during the first half. The operator said 2.2 million of its contract subscribers were using its Natel infinity tariff that offers unlimited calls, SMS and data and its Natel infinity plus offering which provides unlimited calls and SMS, and 1 GB of mobile data to subscribers roaming within the European Union.

Swisscom said it will boost indoor mobile coverage with the launch of a Wi-Fi calling service during the summer.

The operator also saw increased demand for its fixed and mobile bundles during the opening half of 2015, with subscriber numbers growing 197,000 year-on-year to 1.3 million by the end of June.

Revenue from the bundled services grew 185 per cent year-on-year to CHF1 billion (€927 million/$1.02 billion) in the first half. Mobile-only revenues remained flat at CHF1.3 billion.

Overall, group revenues grew marginally (1 per cent) year-on-year to CHF5.7 billion in the first half of 2015. However net income fall 2.7 per cent to CHF784 million.

CEO Urs Schaeppi said the decline in net income was due to "price cuts for roaming services, currency effects and strong competition."

Despite the declines, Schaeppi declared the opening half a success for Swisscom, noting that the operator increased revenue and EBITDA on a like-for-like basis, and that its network investments paid off in the form of new customers, most notably on its TV service and bundled contracts.

Fastweb, the operator's fixed line Italian company, "has been performing very well" Schaeppi said, pointing to an 8 per cent year-on-year rise in its customer base.

For more:
- see Swisscom's earnings release (PDF)
- view the operator's full first half report (PDF)

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