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Roundabouts and swings at Everything Everywhere

Financial wizardry shows all is lost/fine

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Everything Everywhere has lower revenues and fewer customers, though you wouldn't know it from the annual figures which show year-on-year growth of 1.5 per cent and contract numbers rising.

The details, inevitably, show that the growth is "excluding regulatory impact", while the 33 per cent increase in contract customers only appears when compared to the rate of increase during the preceding year.

Everything Everywhere did manage to sign up 100,000 more contracts during 2010, but the operator lost a million prepaid customers over the same period, and while we don't have financial figures for the whole year* the last nine months of 2010 saw turnover down to £5.3bn, dropping by more than £100m compared to 2009.

Even the company's own "Adjusted EBITDA" (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, adjusted to exclude restructuring costs, brand and management fees) is down by almost £150m to £1.023bn.

It's not all bad - average revenue per user (ARPU) is up slightly, to £19.70 a month, but it's hard to see why when ARPU from contract customers is down by 30 pence (to £35.20) and prepaid customers are spending 60 pence a month less (down to £7.60). More worrying is the increasing reliance on voice revenue, which now contributes 73.8 per cent (up .3 per cent) to the total coming in.

But Everything Everywhere is still getting used to being the UK's largest mobile operator, and applying the cost savings that should be achieved by cutting back on duplication - apparently it's already saved £146m in operational spending during 2010, and remains on track to implement £3.5bn in "synergy capture".

For customers the best news is that 3G roaming, between Orange and T-Mobile networks, is coming later this year, and the 4.3 million customers who opted into 2G roaming are now being joined by the rest of the customer base. ®

* Everything Everywhere was formed during 2010.

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