Mobile operator Orange was feeling the effects of a decline in the pre-pay market after adding just 320,000 UK customers in the last quarter against 1.1 million for the same period last year.
Only 102,000 of these opted for the pre-pay option.
The France Telecom owned company added 1.5 million subscribers worldwide, bringing its total to 37 million against 26.2 milion last year.
But the company still trails rival Vodafone, which added 2.5 million subscribers in the last quarter, bringing its total to 96 million, although Vodafone only added 251,000 new subscribers in the UK.
But the figures for Orange pre-pay customers followed a downward trend, accounting for only 32 per cent of the growth in the last quarter, against 73 per cent in the second quarter and 93 per cent in the first quarter.
Jean Fran‡ois Pontal, chief executive of Orange, said that small pre-pay figures amounted to Orange "deliberately shifting our focus to higher value customers."
The growth in contract-based mobile sales was also commented on by Vodafone's chief executive, Christopher Gent, who said: "We have moved our strategy from increasing customer numbers to a more targeted approach, focusing on the highest revenue and profit contributors."
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