A highly profitable mobile phone service enabled Spain's former monopoly telecomm operator to shine through its first nine months in a deregulated market.
Telefonica Group reported an increase in profits of 15.2 per cent for the period compared with the first nine months of 1997, reaching 163 billion pesetas (#685 million). The operator's mobile phone division Telefonica Moviles accounted for 37 per cent of this profit.
Revenues for the period increased 6.2 per cent over the same nine-month period in 1997, to 2.14 trillion pesetas (#9.03 billion), but represented an overall deceleration in the company's revenue growth since the beginning of the year.
Telefonica Moviles increased its net profit almost four times compared with the first nine months of 1997. At the end of September, the operator had more than four million mobile telephony subscribers, a marketshare of 70 per cent.
Telefonica de Espana, Spain's domestic operator, reported a slowdown in growth caused by the changing regulatory climate. Total sales for the period increased 3.2 per cent from the year earlier 1997 period.
However, the deceleration was partially offset by an increase in usage, up 11.8 per cent, and the average number of lines in service, up 4.2 per cent.
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