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Swiss Salt improves earnings in Q1 2020

Swiss operator Salt was in a confident mood after reporting positive revenue and earnings performance for the first quarter of 2020.

The Iliad-owned operator said operating revenue on a like-for-like basis increased by 2.8% year-on-year to CHF207 million (US$213 million), while EBITDA rose by a relatively healthy 5.5% to CHF102.3 million ($105 million). Including the effect of its tower sales to Cellnex in 2019, revenue increased by 2.1% and EBITDA was down by 2.3%.

In May 2019, Cellnex struck a €700 million ($770 million) deal to take a 90% stake in the company that runs 2,800 sites for Salt, and it agreed to build up to 500 more sites across Switzerland.

Pascal Grieder, CEO of Salt, said the company had made a "very good" start to the year, "with customer wins in all areas." Grieder said Salt had responded in a timely fashion to the coronavirus health crisis and noted its network "easily withstood the additional load during the lockdown."

The operator said average voice traffic increased by around 30% over the period, and data traffic by 15%. It added that most of the Salt retail stores have been open again since May 11, 2020.

Salt now has 1,257,100 mobile customers after gaining 7,000 new postpaid customers in the first quarter. It also noted that the customer base for Salt Fiber is growing, although without providing any further details.

The operator is hoping to boost fiber takeup through its recently announced joint venture with rival Sunrise. The two companies formed Swiss Open Fiber, with the aim of building a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network covering 1.5 million households over the next five to seven years.

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— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

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