Orange Belgium maintained its outlook for growth in full-year results after reporting a small increase in Q1 driven by its growing fixed-line activities. While the company's total revenues for Q1 fell 0.7 percent to EUR 307.2 million, due mainly to the reduction in EU roaming rates, service revenues were up 0.6 percent year-on-year to EUR 274.0 million. This was thanks to 13.3 percent growth in fixed revenues to EUR 19.4 million, offsetting the 0.3 percent drop in mobile service revenue to EUR 243.4 million.
Adjusted EBITDA also increased by 3.6 percent to EUR 72.2 million, after excluding the one-time gain from the Wallonia towers tax in the year-earlier period. Net profit jumped to EUR 9.8 million from EUR 1.5 million a year ago, and operating cash flow rose to EUR 39.8 million from EUR 29.4 million.
Orange added another 16,000 fixed customers in the quarter, taking the total to 66,300. The growth was helped by its new Love convergent offer and campaign started in February. Orange Love numbered 49,800 customers at the end of March, with 78,100 mobile contracts attached, meaning growth of 16,400 and 21,400 respectively in Q1. Orange said the focus on convergent fixed-mobile offerings is not only helping grow revenues, but is also reducing costs on subsidies and commissions for adding new mobile lines. It expects to benefit further from a state campaign planned for H2 to raise awareness on the switching opportunities.
The total mobile retail base in Belgium reached 3.759 million at the end of March, a drop of 37,400 compared to three months earlier due to the continued decline of the prepaid market and an increase in promotional activity in the market in Q1. Orange lost 46,500 prepaid users in Q1, while adding 2,900 postpaid contracts and 6,300 M2M sims. Orange said the drop in customer numbers was largely compensated by the growth in higher-value segments, with postpaid ARPU improving 1.1 percent year-on-year to EUR 28.9 in Q1.
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