Thursday 1 August 2019 11:31 am

Mobile provider Three posts revenue slip amid 5G investment

Mobile provider Three UK has posted a slight slip in revenue for the first half as it gears up to launch its 5G network.

The firm reported a two per cent decline in revenue to £1.2bn in the first six months of the year, while total margin dipped one per cent to £721m.

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It comes as the operator prepares to launch its new high-speed network this month, with plans to reach 25 towns and cities across the UK by the end of the year.

Three’s active customer base rose one per cent to 10.2m customers over the period, while average monthly data usage per customer jumped 29 per cent to 9.1GB.

“The second half of 2019 will see the most important and exciting milestone in our history since we launched the UK’s first 3G network in 2003,” said chief executive Dave Dyson.

“Against this backdrop of huge investment in network and IT infrastructure and some dual running costs as we reach this milestone, I am pleased with the underlying strength of the business.”

The next-generation mobile network will be a key selling point for Three, which has positioned itself as a data-focused operator.

The firm previously announced that all its existing customer tariffs will include 5G at no extra cost.

Kester Mann, director of consumer and connectivity at CCS Insight, branded Three’s results “solid if unspectacular”, citing its marginal rise in active customers.

“This glacial growth illustrates a leading reason why Three sees 5G as a catalyst to reinvigorate its brand and achieve the scale it has long for craved,” he told City A.M.

The results came as Three parent company CK Hutchison announced it will bring together its telecoms business in Europe and Hong Kong in one holding company.

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The Hong Kong-headquartered conglomerate said the move will allow it to refinance the €10bn (£9.1bn) debt linked to Italian telecoms operator Wind Tre and spin off its towers business into a new subsidiary.

Overall, CK Hutchison posted a three per cent decline in revenue to HK$217bn (£22.9bn) in the first half, while profit attributable to shareholders rose two per cent to HK$18bn.

Main image credit: Three