Telefonica, France Telecom and BT tough it out

Spanish powerhouse Telefónica, which owns the O2 brand, reported strong performance from its Latin American operations during the first half of 2009, although group net profit slipped 3.5 per cent year on year to €1.339m.

Revenues in the first half of 2009 stood at €27.58bn, showing a year on year growth of 1.4 per cent in organic terms, with Telefónica Latinoamérica contributing 39.8 per cent to consolidated revenues.

The total number of customers increased 7.6 per cent over the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2008, to reach 264 million in total, driven by 9.9 per cent growth in wireless, 14.1 per cent growth in broadband and 19.4 per cent growth in pay TV customers. Again, Latin America delivered the goods, contributing 160.8 million subs across the region by the end of June.

Meanwhile, European rival France Telecom recorded a 4.3 per cent year on year drop in net income to €2.56bn during the first half of 2009, while revenues fell 0.5 per cent to €25.5bn.

The carrier reported a 6.6 per cent increase year on year in the total number of customers to 186 million, driven by a 9.7 per cent rise in Orange mobile subscribers over the one year to reach 125.5 million customers at June 30, 2009. The number of 3G mobile broadband customers also increased to 21.7 million, compared with 13.4 million at the end of June 2008.

Over in the UK, incumbent fixed line carrier, BT, reported a whopping drop in earnings to £214m for the three months to end June 30, 2009, compared to £497m in the same period last year. Revenue climbed just one per cent year on year to £5.23bn during the period.

But troublesome division BT Global Services is making progress, with revenue increasing by 4 per cent to £2bn.

At the end of June, BT claimed dominance as the largest broadband provider with a retail market share of the DSL and LLU (local loop unbundling) installed base of 35 per cent. Net broadband additions were 78,000 in the quarter and total customers remained at 4.8 million. BT Vision net additions were 38,000 in the quarter, taking the customer base to 433,000 at June 30, 2009.

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