Fourth quarter and full year 2019 results
Oslo, 14 February 2020: Ice Group’s smartphone service revenues grew by 36 percent and smartphone subscriptions grew by 29 percent in the fourth quarter versus the same quarter last year. On-net traffic shares also continue to grow for Ice Group, which is building a third nationwide mobile network in Norway.
“2019 was a great year for Ice Group! We grew our customer base significantly, increased our network footprint to now produce 80% of the data in our own network, were awarded licences for the 700 and 2,100 MHz frequencies and experienced increased support from the government through the proposed new regulation of the Norwegian mobile market. We raised NOK 1.5 billion in equity, sold our Swedish business, listed on Oslo Axess and raised a new NOK 0.9 billion bond. We launched “Data Frihet”, “Ice Junior” and “Mobilbytte”, opened our two first physical retail stores and were awarded prizes for mobile operator of the year and excellent customer service. All in all, a break-through year we can look back at with pride both from a customer and technology perspective,“ says Eivind Helgaker, CEO of Ice Group.
Ice Group continues the smartphone growth path in Q4 and has now reached the 10% market share milestone in Norway. In total 130,000 new customers were added in 2019, 18,000 in fourth quarter alone. Smartphone subscriptions increased 29 percent and smartphone revenues increased by 36 percent in this year’s fourth quarter versus the same period last year.
“We continue to roll out customer-friendly products as this is the key to growing our consumer base. In Q4 we launched “IceUng”, a very attractive subscription for people below 24 years of age, with 10GB data of which 8GB in Ice’s own network. IceUng is a very solid example of the way our increasing network coverage gives us the opportunity to roll out disruptive data products at affordable prices. An expected on-net share approaching 90% through 2020 allows us to be even more competitive in the high ARPU segments through the year,“ Eivind Helgaker adds.
In the fourth quarter, Ice had a good development in smartphone ARPU (average revenue per user) which ended at NOK 234 for the quarter, the highest level ever, up from NOK 224 in Q4 2018. This positive development in ARPU comes despite the success of our ARPU-dilutive Ice Junior subscription. This shows that Ice is currently taking market share in the higher paying segments and as such delivering on the medium-term targets.
“Increased on-net share reduces leakage to external network and remains essential to reaching our commercial and financial targets. This is a key reason for investing in our 5G-ready Nokia smartphone network. We added 129 new smartphone sites during the fourth quarter, bringing the average data on-net share to a record high 80% in the quarter, up from 67% in the same quarter last year. Average VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on-net share was 30% in the fourth quarter this year, up from 6% last year. As a result, our NRA cost was 29% of smartphone service revenues in the quarter, down from 35% in the corresponding period last year,” says Eivind Helgaker.
Total service revenues were up 20% in the fourth quarter versus the same period last year. The adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter was NOK -34 million representing an EBITDA adjusted margin of -7%, which is at the same level as last year (NOK -36 million / -8%).
“Continued network-build out and smartphone subscription growth remain key to realising Ice Group’s business plan. We have now delivered 19 consecutive quarters with smartphone subscription growth and remain confident that we will continue to win market share and improve margins strongly going forward,” adds Eivind Helgaker.
A presentation of the third quarter results will be held today at 08:00 (CET) at Hotel Continental, Stortingsgaten 24/26, Oslo, Norway. The presentation can also be followed through a live webcast from this link: https://channel.royalcast.com/hegnarmedia/#!/hegnarmedia/20200214_4
A recording of the presentation will be available on our web site shortly after the live webcast has ended.