Spanish regional operator Euskaltel said it is ready to kick off its national expansion strategy under the Virgin brand, noting that its network already covers 13 million homes in Spain.
Indeed, Euskaltel seems in a broadly optimistic mood despite the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic. It said it made a solid start to 2020, reporting its second consecutive quarter of revenue growth, and also saw improved profitability.
In detail, revenue increased only slightly – by 0.1% – year-on-year to €171.8 million (US$185 million), which Euskaltel admitted was moderately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. EBITDA improved by 8.1% year on year to almost €88 million ($95 million), although the figure was lower on a sequential basis. The EBITDA margin also improved to 51.1%, an increase from 47.3% last year.
Unlike some of its larger peers, the operator was confident enough to confirm its 2020 guidance and still intends to pay a dividend of €0.31 ($0.33) per share. Furthermore, it plans to pay a complementary dividend of €0.17 per share in July 2020.
The operator said recently that government efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are not expected to delay its national expansion. It said pilot tests have now been completed around the country and trial customers have been connected. Euskaltel aims to provide a converged offering of fixed, mobile and TV services.
Euskaltel further confirmed it has put in place measures imposed by the government to tackle the spread of COVID-19, including allowing employees to work from home, ensuring that customers remain connected and providing some free entertainment and communications services to residential customers.
The operator also noted that residential customers are using landlines 90% more than average, with mobile traffic increasing by 65%. Daily Internet traffic has increased by 71% to 5.3 petabytes, with data used by WhatsApp rising a whopping 300%. Average TV viewing has increased by 45% to 5.4 hours per day.
For more on this topic, see:
- Euskaltel keeps calm and carries on with network expansion
- Eurobites: Virgin Media ponders mobile bid – report
- Nagra secures Euskatel's 4K Android TV set-top box deployment in Spain
- Network operators brace for COVID-19 traffic spikes
- Telecom revenue to be hit by COVID-19 fallout in 2020, report says
— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading