Virgin gains record contract customers


Virgin Mobile has reported record numbers of contract customers but saw a large amount of prepay customers disconnect from its network.

The company, releasing its results for Q4 2008, said it gained 70,800 contract customers in the period to take its total base to a record 649,400 customers. It said this represented 16 per cent of its total mobile customers, and growth of 73 per cent in the past year.

However, the MVNO lost 224,000 customers in that period, nearly more than double the amount that disconnected in the previous quarter. Virgin said this reflected “a highly competitive market and our decision not to focus on the lower value end of the prepay market because this segment tends to have higher churn, lower prices and lower overall profitibility”.

The MVNO added that it expects its prepay subscriber base to continue to decline during 2009.

Total mobile revenue for the quarter was £141.1 million, down £10.5 million from the same quarter in 2007. Total revenue was £1.032.5 million, down from £1.050.6 million a year earlier.

Its on-net broadband customers rose to 3.68 million after gaining 57,100 customers in the period, a drop compared to the 68,700 customers gained in the previous quarter.

Virgin Media chief executive officer Neil Berkett said: “During the quarter, we built upon the foundations we put in place to deliver a differentiated and highly competitive consumer proposition in 2009.

“Record numbers of customers are now using Virgin Media’s services, despite the current economic environment. We are successfully giving people more reasons to choose us and they are buying more products from us than ever before, with 56 per cent of our customers now buying three services or more.”