France Telecom increased its mobile subscriber base in the Middle East and Africa by 25% in the first quarter of the year, with the region proving to be the star performer in terms of customer acquisition across the group’s entire operations.
However the increase in subscriber base led to only a modest rise in revenues. The telco’s MEA revenues for Q1 2011 increased by just 1%, excluding the cost of “regulatory measures” which amounted to EUR52 million.
France Telecom said revenue growth was also dented by it the “deterioration” in Egypt, where its operation, Mobinil, experienced a 7.5% decline in revenue in the quarter.
Excluding Egypt, France Telecom posted 5.8% revenue growth for the region. The firm’s "new operations" in Africa, Cameroon and Mali, saw a 23.8% increase in revenue, while Côte d’Ivoire reported a downturn of 1.4%.
The company’s global subscriber base reached 215.9 million at the end of March 2011, representing a 7% year-on-year increase, while global revenues increased 0.4% to EUR11.228 billion, excluding the impact of regulatory measures.
Stéphane Richard, chairman and CEO of France Telecom, said: “The group’s operating and financial performance for the first quarter is strong, despite intensified competition in France and exceptional political conditions in certain emerging countries.
“The group was also able to address difficult conditions in Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia. The group performed very well in Spain, with revenues growing 4%, as well as in the continually improving enterprise market.
He added that the results were in line with the company’s financial targets for 2011 and its “Conquest 2015” strategy to grow its subscriber base to 300 million customers by 2015.
Last year, Stephane Richard said the group planned to invest as much as $9.3 billion over the next five years in the MEA region.