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Orange grows subscriber base in MEA

France Telecom sees surge in MEA subscriber base in Q1

Orange grows subscriber base in MEA
Stephane Richard said the company performed well in the MEA region, despite political unrest.

France Telecom increased its mobile subscriber base in the Middle East and Africa by 25% in the first quarter of the year, with the region proving to be the star performer in terms of customer acquisition across the group’s entire operations.

However the increase in subscriber base led to only a modest rise in revenues. The telco, which operates under the brand name Orange, increased its MEA revenues for Q1 2011 by just 1%, excluding the cost of “regulatory measures” which amounted to EUR52 million. France Telecom said revenue growth was also dented by the “deterioration” in Egypt, where its operation, Mobinil, experienced a 7.5% decline in revenue in the quarter.

Excluding Egypt, France Telecom posted 5.8% revenue growth for the region. The firm’s new operations in Africa, Cameroon and Mali, saw a 23.8% increase in revenue, while Côte d’Ivoire reported a downturn of 1.4%

The company’s global subscriber base reached 215.9 million at the end of March 2011, representing a 7% year-on-year increase, while global revenues increased 0.4% to EUR11.228 billion, excluding the impact of regulatory measures.

France Telecom’s EBITDA was EUR3.734 billion in the first quarter of 2011, down 1.3% compared with the same period last year. The drop was due to the “unfavourable impact” of the partial pass-through of the VAT increase starting 1 January 2011, the company said.

Stéphane Richard, chairman and CEO of France Telecom, said: “The group’s operating and financial performance for the first quarter is strong, despite intensified competition in France and exceptional political conditions in certain emerging countries.

“The group was also able to address difficult conditions in Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia. The Group performed very well in Spain, with revenues growing 4%, as well as in the continually improving Enterprise market.

He added that the results were in line with the company’s financial targets for 2011 and its “Conquest 2015” strategy to grow its subscriber base to 300 million customers by 2015.

Last year, Stephane Richard said the group planned to invest as much as $9.3 billion over the next five years in the MEA region.

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