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Three sees H1 revenue decline amid 5G preparation

Jasper Hart
August 1, 2019

Dave Dyson anticipates H2 to be ‘important and exciting milestone’ for the operator

Three’s financial results for the first half of 2019 have revealed a decline in year-on-year revenue of two per cent, as the operator gears up for its 5G network launch.

However, the operator announced an increase in its customer base of one per cent to 10.2 million, up from 10.1 million.

Revenue stood at £1.17 billion, down on 1.19 billion in the first half of 2018. EBITDA decreased by eight per cent to £334 million.

However, this was partly due to an increase in capital expenditure, which went up by 24 per cent to £155 million, and operating expenses, which increased by seven per cent to £302 million.

Earlier in the year, Three launched its cloud core network with Nokia, and the operator intends to launch 5G broadband and mobile services in 25 UK cities by the end of 2019.

Three UK CEO Dave Dyson said: “The second half of 2019 will see the most important and exciting milestone in our history since we launched the UK’s first 3G network in 2003. Three has a long history of putting UK consumers first and the launch of the UK’s fastest 5G network using our leading 5G spectrum portfolio and investment in world class cloud-based infrastructure means that we can disrupt the UK’s home broadband network, at the same time as serving our data-hungry mobile customers.

“Against this backdrop of huge investment in network and IT infrastructure and some dual running costs as we reach this milestone, I am pleased with the underlying strength of the business. Our customer satisfaction score remains the highest of all the MNOs reflected by the low levels of churn.”

The advent of 5G is expected to drive growth, with Three’s customers being the most data-hungry in the UK. Average monthly data usage at Three is now at 9.1GB, a 20 per cent year-on-year increase.

CCS Insights anticipates that the average UK consumer will consumer 25GB per month by 2023, largely fuelled by 5G.

CCS director of consumer and connectivity Kester Mann said: “Given its strong position in 5G spectrum – a major advantage over its rivals – Three is understandably keen to talk up its 5G credentials once again. When it launches later this month, expect it to focus on unlimited data, low prices and disruption in home broadband.”

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