Regulation on roaming charges and mobile termination rates – the amount networks can charge for calls to other operators – have affected all of the UK’s mobile operators this year.
However, O2 took a much bigger hit than its major rival EE in the third quarter.
O2’s turnover was down 5.4 per cent year-on-year in pound sterling terms to €1.8bn (£1.4bn), compared to EE’s 1.5 per cent fall. O2 was much more susceptible to lower industry charges on phone calls.
The firm – a division of European telecoms giant Telefonica – gained 110,000 mobile customers on the period last year, as a rise in new contracts offset people leaving pay-as-you-go plans. O2 now has 22.5m mobile customers.
The figures suggest that a short network blackout that hit O2 in the summer did not damage the company.
The gains came despite a nine per cent year-on-year fall in contract renewals as people held off on upgrades ahead of the launch of the iPhone 5.
Meanwhile, Telefonica – which also has operations in Germany, Spain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Latin America – swung to a profit after losing money in the quarter last year. The debt-laden group has been hit hard by the recession.