How did Liberty Global’s operations in Central and Eastern Europe – both those to be retained and sold to Vodafone – perform in the second quarter?
Quite well, by the look of things, with their results emphasising high levels of investment and how it has impacted positively on KPIs.
Take Poland, where UPC ended Q2 with 2,994,500 RGUs (+37,000 y-o-y) and 1,430,200 customers. It gained 30,000 internet, 15,400 TV and 8,900 telephony customers in the year to June 30, while over 500,000 customers, or almost double the 270,000 a year earlier, had a Connect Box and 580,000 (+200,000 y-o-y) Horizon.
UPC’s fibre-network reached 3,400,000 homes (+31 y-o-y), and significantly, the number of subscribers opting for 250Mbps over doubled in a year, while those choosing 500Mbps increased over 14-fold in nine months.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic UPC’s giga-ready network was already available to 1,517,300 households in Q2, or 51,900 more than a year earlier. The total number of RGUs stood at 1,214,600, divided between internet (501,400, +14,900 y-o-y), TV (534,400, +19,600 y-o-y) and telephony (178,900, +26,100 y-o-y).
UPC Romania, like its sister operations in the Czech Republic and Hungary, will soon, regulatory clearance permitting, be owned by Vodafone. It also had a strong second quarter, with revenues (excluding its DTH operation Focus Sat) 4.3% higher than a year earlier.
Other figures, again excluding Focus Sat, show its RGU total grew by 6% in the year to 2,078,700. UPC digital services were available to 3,097,600 households and the number of subscribers stood at 978,400. Connect Box was also popular, being chosen by 373,000 customers.
It was a similar picture for UPC Hungary, which had revenues in Q2 that were 6.1% higher than a year earlier. Its RGU total amounted to 2,119,600 and the number of retail and business subscriptions 859,400. All told, the operator’s services were available to 1,807,300 households nationwide.
Although detailed UPC Slovakia figures were not available at the time of writing, the trends are likely to be have been similar to those of other Liberty operations in the region.
From the main Liberty results, we can see that the revenues for its continuing CEE operations were 7.8% higher in Q2 than a year earlier. However, they accounted for only 5% of the company’s total revenues.
Furthermore, Liberty’s DTH services in Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia – also listed as part of its continuing operations – lost 11,200 customers in Q2 alone.
While Q2 was an interesting and largely positive quarter for Liberty in CEE, the long-term plans for its remaining assets in the region are far from clear.