T-Mobile International has credited its Relax voice tarrifs and personal ring tones for an increase in subscriber numbers in its European territories in the first quarter of 2004.
The carrier had 63.4 million customers across all its majority owned companies, compared to 55.1 million at the end of the fist quarter 2003. During the first quarter 2004 it added 2.4 million customers in total, with half of that number coming from the USA.
T-Mobile Deutschland added 348,000 new customers, over half of them on contract, during the quarter. It also contributed EUR773 million to the group’s EBITDA, a slight fall on the previous year’s figure. 500,000 customers in total have signed up for the Relax tarrif, since its launch in February, and 300,000 customers have registered for the SoundLogo personal mobile ringtone service.
In the UK, 700,000 signed up with the operator, with churn on a total of 14.3 million customers falling to 1.2%. Revenue was at EUR1.1 billion, up from EUR1 billion in 1Q 2003, and the country made an EBITDA contribution of EUR385 million (EUR278 million 1Q 2003).
T-Mobile said the positive effect of its contractual changes with Virgin Mobile was one reason for the improved EBITDA performance.
In Austria the operator blamed intense competition and the sale of a photographic equipment chain for reduced revenues (EUR236 million against EUR273 million last year) and EBITDA, down 42% at EUR55 million. But the unit also failed to add much in the way of net customers, although 150,000 customers signed up for Relax.
There was better news from the Czech Republic as the unit added over half a million customers in the year from 1Q 2003 to reach almost four million. But revenue was constant and EBITDA down — this time T-Mobile blamed a 17% increase in VAT as a result of the country joining the European Community.
In the Netherlands revenue improved 37% to EUR250 million and EBITDA was just positive, for the first time, at EUR1 million.
In mobile data, which now stands at 17% of the average revenue per customer in Europe, there are now around 5.5 million active users of t-zones or Photo Messaging services. There were 5.4 million t-zones downloads in Europe in the quarter, with 40% of those accounted for by ringing tones.
Worldwide, T-Mobile carried 12.2 million MMS in the quarter, a rise of 45%. But the number of SMS was still far, far ahead, at 7.36 billion.