Three records first underlying profit

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Operator records profit of £30 million, a 14 per cent revenue rise and an increase in customers numbers to more than 8.1 million

Three has recorded a full-year profit of £30 million, the first time the operator has turned a profit without the help of one-time gains.

In 2010 Three made profits of £173 million, but this included gains from Orange joining the network sharing agreement between the operator and T-Mobile. Excluding the gain, Three lost £15 million over the year.

Excluding the impact of  depreciation and amortisation, 2011 earnings rose to £191m.

Revenues topped £1.78 billion, up 14 per cent from £1.57 billion in 2010.

Throughout 2011, Three added 615,000 prepaid customers and 651,000 contract customers, taking its total base to more than 8.1 million, and increase of 18 per cent.

In the first three months of 2012, customer adds were weighted more heavily towards contract.

Blended ARPU fell 3 per cent to £21.87, but the fall was significantly less than in 2010, when the firm saw a fall in ARPU of 16 per cent.

Three CEO David Dyson (pictured) said: “We’ve started the year with real momentum and our 18% growth in customer numbers in 2011 is a great achievement.

“Our network performance continues to attract awards and customer loyalty is at its highest level yet.

“This combined with our all you can eat data offers means we are well placed to continue our growth trajectory.”

Three CFO Richard Woodward said: “Rapid growth in subscribers, driven by contract smartphone customers has been matched by EBITDA growth of 16%.

“We’ve maintained our profitable position throughout the year, and our market leading network economics and our focus on direct distribution provide the foundations for sustained profitable growth.”

For the full report, see the next issue of Mobile News

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