TeliaSonera prioritizes 4G investments with sales down 3.9%

Sweden’s TeliaSonera said it will prioritize investment in 4G coverage expansion after reporting a return to organic revenue growth for the three months to June 2013.

The operator said revenue for the second quarter fell by 3.9%, to SEK25.3 billion ($3.85 billion), but blamed the impact of regulatory cuts to interconnection rates as well as exchange rate fluctuations for the decline.

Net income for the group dropped by 16.9%, to SEK4 billion, due largely to the effect of non-recurring items related to efficiency measures.

Sweden’s TeliaSonera said it will prioritize investment in 4G coverage expansion after reporting a return to organic revenue growth for the three months to June 2013.

The operator said revenue for the second quarter fell by 3.9%, to SEK25.3 billion ($3.85 billion), but blamed the impact of regulatory cuts to interconnection rates as well as exchange rate fluctuations for the decline.

Net income for the group dropped by 16.9%, to SEK4 billion, due largely to the effect of non-recurring items related to efficiency measures.

In the third quarter of 2012, the operator announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs with a view to saving SEK2 billion over the next two years, and it said it expects to complete the redundancy process by early 2014 at the latest.

The rollout of 4G and fiber networks is also aimed at bolstering efficiency, and TeliaSonera (Stockholm, Sweden) intends to cover 92% of the Swedish population with 4G services over the next two years.

“Network quality and capacity are crucial to meet the exploding demand for data; therefore we will invest further in 4G and mobile coverage, expand with fiber and selectively target acquisitions of existing fiber networks in our home markets,” said Per-Arne Blomquist, the president and chief executive of TeliaSonera.

Blomquist said the operator would also continue to shift away from minute-based voice pricing to new data-centric models.

It claims to have signed approximately 180,000 customers up to new shared pricing plans offering unlimited voice calls and text messaging along with monthly allocations of megabytes that can be shared between devices.

TeliaSonera has also reiterated its full-year outlook based on its performance over the first six months of the year.

It expects revenues to be roughly the same as in 2012 in local currencies, excluding the effect of disposals and acquisitions, and is forecasting a slight improvement in its margin for earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization, which last year came in at 34.5%.