EE earnings fall despite 4G advantage

Mobile operator EE keeps quiet on how many customers have signed up to its 4G contracts as it reports a 7% drop in earnings

Mobile operator EE has reported a drop in earnings of over 7%, despite having the advantage of being the only 4G provider active in the UK.

The mobile network – formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile in 2010 – reported revenues of £6.65bn for 2012, dropping by 2% from the previous year.

Earnings before tax came in at £1.08bn, showing a more significant fall of 7.3% compared with 2011 figures.

The fourth quarter of the fiscal year, which saw EE become the first and only operator in the UK to launch 4G services, also saw a year-on-year decline in revenues, sliding 2.8% from £1.72bn in the fourth quarter of 2011 to £1.67bn in the fourth quarter of 2012.

EE managed to add 752,000 contract customers over the year, with 201,000 signing up in the past three months. However, a spokesman for the firm said it would not provide a breakdown of how many of those were signing up for 4G the numbers as it was “commercially sensitive information".

Instead, a statement from EE just said there was “solid early 4G momentum” for migrating existing customers over to 4G and that more than 10% of its enterprise customers were either using or trialling the technology.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, called the company’s results a “solid financial performance” and praised the progress in building up the newly formed firm.

EE completed the merger of its supply chain and retail IT systems in 2012, and used its network optimisation programme to decommission 2,659 sites. It also refurbished all of its high street stores and is now planning to close 78 in 2013, bringing in more cost savings for the operator.

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