Belgian operator Proximus has regained some of its panache after a somewhat taxing period over the past two years. Indeed, the operator is suitably encouraged by its performance in the first six months of this year to raise its guidance for 2022 as a whole.
Proximus now expects underlying domestic service revenue to increase by 1%-2% year-on-year, an improvement from the previous outlook of 1% growth. Group EBITDA is forecast to grow by 1%, after previous estimates it would fall by 1%. Meanwhile, group capex is set to remain unchanged at around €1.3 billion (US$1.33 billion).
Proximus Group CEO Guillaume Boutin said he was pleased with what he described as Proximus' robustness, "achieving good progress despite the more difficult economical context we are operating in."
As in the past, the operator's domestic business remained the weaker element in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022, compared to 39.5% growth at authentication and digital identity services businesses TeleSign and 11.2% growth at wholesale provider BICS. It was at least able to report underlying Q2 revenue growth of 1.9% at the domestic level.
Boutin did note that plans to list TeleSign are still on hold, "given the wider economic context and impact this has had on financial markets."
Total Q2 group revenue rose by 4.9% to €1.43 billion ($1.45 billion), of which €1.1 billion ($1.11 billion) came from the domestic market. Underlying group EBITDA increased 0.9% to €463 million ($470 million) while net income was up 3.7% at €122 million ($124 million). Capex was 5.8% higher at €287 million ($291 million).
New fiber milestone
In terms of its network development, Boutin highlighted the fact that Proximus reached a new milestone of one million homes passed with its fiber network as of June. "Over the second quarter we passed an additional 122,000 premises with fiber, bringing us to a nationwide coverage level of 17% end-June," he said.
He also noted that Proximus recently announced a plan to broaden fiber coverage by agreeing an MoU with a consortium of Belgian financial partners. Here, the ambition is to bring fiber to an additional 1.7 million homes and businesses situated in areas with low population density. "We aim to reach a final agreement by year-end," Boutin said.
In terms of 5G, Proximus recently secured spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz band, which Boutin said "will finally make it possible to bring the benefits of 5G to the entire Belgian population."
By the end of June, Proximus had more than 2.2 million broadband customers and 4.74 million mobile contract customers.
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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading