Subscriber growth is at expense of rivals
Britain’s second-biggest mobile operator, O2, says customer growth is accelerating as it prepares for the launch of new 4G services. The operator, owned by Spain’s Telefonica, added 251,000 extra contract customers in the three months to April 2013, the fastest first-quarter growth it has witnessed in four years. And although it lost almost as many pay-as-you-go users, it still registered growth of 46,000 more of them as its main rivals, Orange and T-Mobile owner EE, saw customers defect.
EE lost 406,000 mobile users in the first quarter, although it remains the UK’s biggest network by users with 25.7 million compared to O2’s 22.9 million.
But despite O2’s customer surge, revenues still fell by 4.8 per cent annually, mainly due to the clampdown by regulator Ofcom on operators’ extra charges.
It’s not the first time that O2, which launches its 4G services this summer, has cited external difficulties for its fall in revenues.
In March this year  it reported an 8.5 per cent drop for 2012′s third quarter, blaming it on customers delaying renewal of contracts ahead of Apple’s iPhone 5 launch.