3 to go 4G in Q4

3 has reported a record £1bn revenue for the first half of 2013, with operating profit more than tripling from the same period last year, up to £86m from £26m.  

The company has added 697,000 customers during this time – 168,000 of them in Q2, 2013 – with many opting for the operator’s all-you-can-eat 3G contracts.

Revenue from calls, texts and data reported in the company’s H1 earnings remained flat at £667m – despite CEO David Dyson revealing in June that data usage per person had increased from 1.1GB to 1.8GB every month – but handset revenue increased 30 per cent to £321m in H1. 

In a bid to offer greater transparency, 3 has changed the way it measures its customer base, for the first time counting only active accounts used in the last 90 days, of which there are 7.5m, as opposed to the number of people registered with the company in total. This might give the impression that the operator has lost 1.7m customers since it reported Q1 results in March – but these are likely to be prepaid customers who are no longer using their SIM. 

Going 4G 

The UK’s newest mobile operator, which struggled from 2003 until 2010 to turn a profit, will be shifting its attention to using 4G spectrum allocation by the end of this year. “We’re on track to launch in Q4 and we will offer 4G at no extra charge,” said Guy Middleton, head of corporate communications at 3. “When we switch on our 4G network well over a million of our customers will already have a 4G device, so they will get automatic and hassle-free access in 4G areas without the need to change plans or SIM cards. Everyone on 3 with a 4G device will be able to enjoy our 4G services as we roll out the network across the country to add capacity to what is already the UK’s fastest 3G network.” 

The company says its dual carrier 3G network is already 100 times faster than it was when it launched in the UK and claims that its customers might already see speeds in excess of 20MBps. Ofcom considers speeds above 6MBps as a 4G experience. 3’s CEO stated in June that the operator is looking to ensure it has enough capacity rather than headline speeds when its 4G service goes live.

Written for Mobile Marketing Magazine and published here: http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.com/content/3-go-4g-q4#1QMoJgblFZDXKdkl.99

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