Three flat ahead of O2 takeover

Oliver Smith
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Three has 8.41m UK users, making it the smallest operator behind Vodafone, O2 and EE
BRITAIN’S smallest mobile network operator Three yesterday posted flat revenue growth of just one per cent to £2.05bn for 2014.

The network, owned by Hong Kong investment group Hutchison Wham­poa, said its total active customer base rose six per cent to 8.41m as it added 478,000 customers during the year.

Hutchison Whampoa is currently preparing to acquire Telefonica’s rival UK network O2 in a £10bn deal. Yesterday, the group owned by Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, posted a doubling of global profits to HK$67bn (£5.62bn).

Last month, Ka-shing overhauled his business empire to create two listed companies – one focused on property and the other on telecoms – and initiated the takeover of O2, fuelling speculation of the tycoon pulling out of China.

Three’s finance chief Richard Woodward said on the network’s UK results: “Our 2014 financial results demonstrate the successful execution of our strategy.

“Our focus has been, and will continue to be, on giving our customers the best and fairest mobile experience available to support our financial growth.”

Three’s core profits rose to £314m with 42 per cent of its customers now using 4G on its network.

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