Belfast Telegraph

Mobile operator Three hails rising revenues as customer numbers soar

Mobile operator Three has cheered rising revenues despite earnings slipping back in response to customer and investment costs.

The telecoms firm, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate CK Hutchison, said half-year earnings dropped 2% to £341 million, down from £348 million in 2016.

The fall was triggered by costs linked to both acquiring more customers and investment in the IT and network infrastructure.

Total revenues climbed 10% to £1.2 billion over the period, as customer numbers jumped 11% to 12 million.

The update came as CK Hutchison, which also owns British retailers Superdrug and Savers, boosted profits by 7% to 15.9 billion Hong Kong dollars (£15.4 billion) for the six months ending in June.

Dave Dyson, chief executive of Three, said: "This encouraging set of results is testament to our continued improvement in customer satisfaction, which remains Three's core focus and clear point of differentiation."

Three, which employs more than 4,400 people and has 324 stores, said registered customers with a mobile phone contract rose 7% to 417,000 for the half year, while pre-paid customers lifted 16% to 745,000.

Meanwhile, CK Hutchison saw revenues rise 5% to 190.1 billion Hong Kong dollars (£183.7 billion), as volatility surrounding commodity prices, currencies and interest rates softened in the first half of 2017.

The company, which is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, said the Brexit-hit pound had a negative impact on the business but was offset by more stable economic conditions in major markets.

Mr Li added: "There have been increasing signs in the first half of a modest recovery in business and consumer confidence in most major economies as well as improvements in trade flows.

"However, geopolitical risks, renewed uncertainty on commodity prices outlook and market concerns on interest rates and currencies movements, together with the acceleration of technological advancements, continue to pose considerable challenges to the operating environment of the group's businesses globally."

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