EE targeting six million 4G users by end of 2014
BRITAIN’S biggest mobile operator EE said rapid 4G customer growth during its fourth quarter meant it now had two million customers using its super-fast data service.
Chief executive Olaf Swantee told City A.M. that the network is targeting six million 4G customers – that EE makes an extra £2 per month from compared to customers on cheaper 3G contracts – by the end of 2014.
“The reason I very much believe in this number is that we’re going to see 4G devices coming out for under £100, the awareness around 4G is going to grow and our coverage – which is now at 45m people – will continue to expand,” said Swantee.
The growth in higher value 4G customers led EE’s adjusted earnings for the year to grow 10 per cent to £1.57bn with an improved margin of 24.3 per cent, up from the 21.5 per cent seen last year.
Swantee said: “We successfully executed our strategy… achieving our best margin yet.”
The mobile network broke records last year to become the world’s fastest network with speeds of over 300Mbps around London’s Silicon Roundabout at Old Street, speeds that Swantee said yesterday may take smartphone makers nearly a year to catch up with.
“This is the first time a network has been ahead of device makers… Unfortunately it may take another nine months for the first devices to come out that will handle these speeds,” said Swantee.
On EE’s long-rumoured plans for an initial public offering, that owners Deutsche Telekom and Orange said had been put on hold last month, finance chief Neal Milsom said: “It’s pretty clear that it’s off the agenda for the time being.”