Everything Everywhere, the joint venture between British cellcos Orange UK and T-Mobile UK and the country’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, has highlighted the continued shift in its subscriber mix towards post-paid services and increased smartphone uptake following the release of its financial results for the first three months of 2012. The operator reported a service revenue of GBP1.503 billion (USD2.4 billion) for the quarter, down 2.5% against the corresponding period a year earlier, with regulated mobile termination rate (MTR) cuts cited as one of the core drivers for the decline. Excluding the impact of MTR reductions, Everything Everywhere said, service revenue actually increased by 2.9% compared to 1Q11. Underlying growth, meanwhile, was driven by a 7.3% year-on-year increase in post-paid subscribers, with the operator recording 151,000 net post-paid additions in the first three months of 2012 alone. Further, it noted that it was continuing to enjoy some success in upgrading some of its existing customers to higher value contracts. At end-March 2012 49% of the operator’s total customer base was on a post-paid tariff option, up from 45% a year earlier. With the company also reporting that 71% of its post-paid customers had a smartphone, Everything Everywhere noted that such uptake was driving non-voice revenues, with the company seeing a 17% year-on-year increase in data revenues in 1Q12. At the end of March 2012 the cellco’s total subscriber base stood at 27.219 million, down from 27.729 million at the end of the previous quarter, and representing a 9.4% drop from the 30.028 million it had at end-March 2011. Fixed line broadband subscriber numbers at the end of the reporting period totalled 713,000, down from 752,000 a year earlier.
Alongside its financial results, Everything Everywhere also announced that it has launched what it claims is the UK’s first live trial of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in the north of England. The cellco is utilising 1800MHz spectrum under a trial licence to test the 4G technology, and has noted that it will roll out the service over the coming weeks in the Threlkeld area of Cumbria to around 50 local residents. The trial will run until the end of July 2012, and the operator said that it will use the project to ‘test the network performance ahead of potential further rollout by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval’.