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Three UK boasts 10% subscriber growth, scraps £1.5bn roaming fees

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Three UK has revealed its performance results for the first half of 2015, and declared a year-on-year active subscriber growth of 10%, up to 8.8 million.

The operator saw total revenues of £1.07 billion, up 9.9% YOY from £974 million. Numbers revealed by Three suggest a 250,000 growth in contract subscribers, 500,000 new PAYG users and the continued expansion of its 4G user-base have had a huge influence on the half-annual results. This, despite seeing a 3% YOY reduction in average revenue per user to £20.38, a problem not uncommon across today’s telecoms industry.

Three also claims its 4G user-base now represents more than half of its total subscribership, having grown from 2 million in June 2014 to more than 4.4 million today. Three’s performance exceeds forecasts from analysts Ovum, whose WCIS database predicted just over 4 million LTE subscribers for this quarter.

The growth in 4G users has also seen the average data usage per customer rise to 4.65GB per month. The growth in data consumption, paired with Three’s offer to upgrade to 4G at no extra cost, shows the commoditisation of data, particularly when considering the reduction in ARPU being observed by the telco.

Three is targeting enhanced LTE coverage over the second half of 2015, with Chief Executive Dave Dyson saying the telco will be introducing low frequency spectrum to aid rural and indoor service.

“We continue to focus on giving our customers the best possible experience,” he said. “Our network is already providing a quality, reliable service to customers and this will be further enhanced in the next six months with the introduction, for the first time, of our low frequency 800 MHz spectrum.”

Adding to the sentiment, CFO Richard Woodward reiterated the company’s customer-first stance.
“Our performance in the first half has been built on the strength of our network and the plans and benefits we provide,” he said. “We passionately believe that financial success starts and ends with providing the best possible customer experience and fixing industry issues like unfair roaming charges.”

Three added that its international roaming service, Feel At Home, which allows users to consumer data internationally as they would at home, has “saved” users roughly £1.5bn in roaming charges since its launch two years ago.

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