Salt relies on mobile growth, stays schtum on broadband

Swiss operator Salt Mobile was in a buoyant mood as it presented strong mobile subscriber growth figures for the second quarter (Q2) of 2022.

Yet as before, one key figure was still noticeable in its absence: how many new home broadband subscribers were gained in the period from April to June.

The operator is still keeping quiet on home broadband figures as Swiss fiber deployment remains up in the air.
 (Source: Marlon Trottmann/Alamy Stock Photo)
The operator is still keeping quiet on home broadband figures as Swiss fiber deployment remains up in the air.
(Source: Marlon Trottmann/Alamy Stock Photo)

In its results statement, Salt reported that the number of contract mobile subscribers increased 24,700 to 1,419,000, describing this as the highest growth figure in ten years.

Broadband blackspot

It also noted that it achieved subscriber growth in both its B2B and home broadband segments. However, once again it did not provide any actual figures for the latter two segments.

The operator last reported the number of high-speed broadband subscribers for the third quarter of 2021, when the tally exceeded 150,000. However, it has not divulged Salt Home figures since then despite its positioning as a fully convergent national telecom provider.

The operator originally launched the Salt Home fiber service in 2018 via wholesale provider Swiss Fibre Net.

Then in April 2021, Salt partnered with Swisscom to gain access to the incumbent operator's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in the future. The agreement would give Salt access to more than three million Swiss households by 2025.

As Light Reading has previously reported, Swisscom's FTTH deployment has been delayed because of regulatory and government objections to its planned range of wholesale offers. This in turn has affected Salt's strategy.

Swisscom itself indicated in August that the situation regarding the expansion of its fiber-optic network remains challenging.

On hold

Swisscom's new CEO Christoph Aeschlimann said during the Q2 earnings call that discussions with the Competition Commission were ongoing, but suggested that a compromise might be achievable.

"The possible solutions are not just black and white in terms of worse and best case. So there are options we're discussing which are somewhere between those two far ends and with different shades of gray," he said.

In March 2022, a Salt spokesperson confirmed that the partnership signed with Swisscom was currently on hold but said the operator continued to sign new agreements with other partners.

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At the time, the Salt Home Fiber footprint was 1.6 million premises. Salt is also offering a fixed wireless access (FWA) service to complement its fiber offering.

Meanwhile, the service provider said it continues to register positive momentum in its three strategic pillars.

In Q2 2022, operating revenue rose by 4.4% to 238.8 million Swiss francs (US$248 million).

Adjusted EBITDA fell 1.9% to CHF105 million ($108.8 million), which Salt blamed on commercial efforts to drive business growth. Free cash flow stood at CHF36.4 million ($37.7 million).

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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