Eurobites: Proximus turns a corner in Q3, ups full-year guidance

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: MTN adds 12 million subscribers in Q3; signs of recovery at Millicom; no pause-button for Spotify.

  • Belgium's Proximus is feeling confident enough to upwardly revise its full-year 2020 guidance despite the uncertainties thrown up by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Group EBITDA in the third quarter was 0.2% down on the same period last year, to €1.074 billion (US$1.254 billion), but domestic EBITDA actually rose 1.9%, to €438 million ($511 million). The operator saw a 4.1% increase in its "convergent" revenue, with mobile/fixed/TV bundles clearly finding favor. Guillaume Boutin, Proximus' CEO, used his results statement to update stakeholders on the company's latest pandemic-related measures, including this week's re-closure of its brick-and-mortar stores in light of the virus's resurgence. Proximus has also removed all download limits on its residential fixed Internet products and continued the distribution of free Wi-Fi access codes to pupils and students who do not have Internet at home.

  • South Africa-based MTN Group saw service revenue in the third quarter climb 11.4% year-on-year, to more than 43 billion South African rand ($2.64 billion), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were up 13.9%. Reflecting the increased demand for remote working during the pandemic, data revenue grew by 31.9%. During the quarter, MTN added 12 million subscribers, taking its total to 273 million across 21 markets.

  • Headquartered in Luxembourg but serving emerging markets in Latin America and Africa, Millicom presents a mixed picture in its Q3 results, expressing some confidence going forward while acknowledging that its financial performance remains below pre-COVID levels, especially in postpaid mobile and B2B. Q3 revenue fell 6.5% year-on-year, to $1.026 billion, though sequentially it was up from $970 million. Operating profit slumped 45.2% year-on-year, to $97 million.

  • Spotify, the Swedish-owned audio streaming service, has recovered from its own COVID-19 hiccup to continue its relentless quest toward world domination in the third quarter, with its number of "monthly active users" up 29% year-on-year, to 320 million, 144 million of them prepared to part with money every month for the ad-free Premium tier. In revenue terms, this equated to €1.79 billion ($2.09 billion) from the Premium tier and €185 million ($216 million) from the ad-supported tier. The service had a particularly successful July launch in Russia, where it also entered into a partnership with mobile operator MTS. Spotify's most streamed song of summer 2020? "Rockstar (feat. Roddy Ricch)" by DaBaby and Roddy Ricch. No, me neither.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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