Mobile provider Three UK has posted a modest rise in revenues and profit for the full-year as it gears up for the rollout of 5G.
Total revenue grew one per cent to £2.4bn in the 12 months to the end of December.
Earnings before interest and tax also ticked up one per cent to £441m.
Total margin was up one per cent to £1.5bn.
Operating expenses increased four per cent to £574m.
Why it’s interesting
Three has posted robust full-year results as it looks to grow its existing business and move towards the much-anticipated rollout of 5G.
The provider achieved 11.3m total active network connections, with a customer base of more than 10m customers.
The average monthly data usage jumped 22 per cent to 8.3GB, reflecting the growing demand for data among customers.
Three also built on its plans to bring the new, high-speed 5G network to the UK amid strong competition from rivals. The company added to its 5G spectrum following an auction last year, and has now committed £2bn to the new technology.
Chief executive Dave Dyson told City A.M. the firm is not “hell-bent on being the first to the market”, but said it is aiming to provide the fastest and most reliable service.
“5G is a catalyst for some very exciting things in the UK,” he added.
Three already holds a leading position in terms of 5G spectrum, but may see that diminish following a further auction next year.
Last month Three announced it has teamed up with Nokia to launch a new software-based cloud core network to support 5G, in what the firm described as a “world first”.
The company will also look to expand its home broadband offering – building on a base of 800,000 data-only customers – in a bid to double its customer numbers and drive revenue growth.
Paolo Pescatore, telecoms analyst at PP Foresight, said Three has a strong spectrum position for 5G and said it was “sensible” to expand its home broadband offering.
“These new areas will provide much-needed impetus for future subscriber and revenue growth,” he added.
Three said it is well-placed for continued transformation in 2019.
Read more: Vodafone to launch 5G in 19 cities this year
What Three said
Chief executive Dave Dyson said: “Three is fully embracing a business transformation to take maximum advantage of the opportunities digital businesses enjoy. 2018 was the year when we set the foundations in place for us to jump up to the next level and become the UK’s best-loved brand by our people and customers, meeting all our customers’ connectivity needs.
“UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data and 5G is the key to delivering on that demand in a quality and cost-effective way.
“We are well set up for some transformational shifts in 2019 for our customers and our employees. It will be a year when our customers will start to see the real benefits of the next generation of 5G ‘mobile’ technology, a technology that will not only replace 4G, but will also replace the need for wired broadband services.”