Orange enjoys juicy third quarter

UK now poor cousin in the revenue stakes...
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

UK now poor cousin in the revenue stakes...

Orange has announced its third quarter results, with company CEO Sol Trujillo predicting a bright future – especially outside the UK.

Across the Orange Group, revenue was up by around eight per cent from the preceding quarter to €4.7bn due to customers being freer with their cash and more of them choosing to spend it with Orange – numbers are up by almost three per cent to 46.9m, with 1.325m joining the party in the quarter ending 30 September.

Annual average revenue per user (ARPU), the holy grail for mobile companies, saw movement in the right direction for the mobile operator, with Orange's UK users spending about £270 – an increase of almost six per cent - and their French counterparts paying out €380.

The majority of ARPU comes from contract customers rather than pay-as-you-go (£572 compared to £127), but both increased marginally, making it a sixth successive quarter on the rise in the UK. While Orange's French ARPU was boosted to €377 (still lower than its 2002 equivalent), but it was only the second rise in a row across the Channel.

The origin of Orange's revenues is also changing, with voice, often overshadowed by newly-launched gameplay and data, putting in a strong performance.

Non-voice revenues are taking tentative steps towards being the money spinning dream operators hoped for, but are still more of a cash calf than a cash cow for Orange. While the revenue from non-voice services reached €1.51bn for the year so far, it's just a 12 per cent share of total monies for Orange – nearly 23 per cent of that due to SMS.

Trujillo said in statement: "We are on track or ahead of everything we committed to in our June strategy presentation... In particular, I am pleased that we have demonstrated over the past seven months that with careful management of costs and appropriate investment, excellent growth can be achieved throughout the Group...this is just the beginning".

Beginning of what? In announcing the results, Orange also unveiled its ongoing business strategy, hanging the future on the peg of new, personalised services and increased adoption.

And in geographical terms, the Group's focus is on the move, with the UK no longer the main centre of attention at Orange's HQ. Trujillo said a strong performance in France is "key to Orange" and added that the international business was outperforming its UK equivalent.

He said: "The real value and importance of our international portfolio also shines through in today’s figures... We believe our international footprint holds a huge potential for Orange".

Trujillo's comments came in light of the Group's results outside its core businesses in UK and France. Rest of world revenue shot up by 21 per cent to €3.2bn, now making up almost a quarter of all Orange revenues, while international numbers exceeded those in the UK for the first time.

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