Telefónica hailed a 10 percent rise in the ARPU of its mobile subscribers as profits and revenues rose in 2017.

The Spain-based operator saw profits after tax rise 41 percent year-on-year to €3.38 billion and underlying OIBDA rise 0.7 percent to €16.64 billion.

The improved profitability performance came as like-for-like revenues rose 3.4 percent for the year, hitting €52.01 billion, thanks to an increase in mobile data and handset revenues.

The group saw revenues fall in its two biggest European markets, Spain and Germany, which declined 1.2 percent to €12.65 billion and 2.8 percent to €7.3 billion, respectively.

However, these falls were offset by growth in the UK, up 2.2 percent to €6.54 billion, in Brazil, up 1.4 percent to €12.02 billion, and in the rest of the operator’s Latin American markets, up 15.3 percent to €12.55 billion.

Overall sales and profitability growth came despite a fall in the number of fixed and mobile telephony subscribers, down 1.4 million to 36.9 million and 4.68 million to 271.7 million, respectively.

Customer losses were offset by rising ARPU as subscribers moved to more high value services such as LTE, fibre and pay-TV, the operator said.

The ARPU of mobile subscribers rose 10 percent year-on-year, for example.

Telefónica CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete said the operator had delivered “solid results” and delivered on its guidance for the year.

He added: “Thanks to the investments made during recent years we are in a strengthened position; we cover more than 90 percent of the population in Europe with LTE technology and we have surpassed the 70 million mark of premises passed with fibre.

“We have entered 2018 with clear priorities to execute our strategy, with revenue growth, margin expansion for the third year in a row and lower capital intensity thanks to the efforts already undertaken.”

The results came as Telefónica extended a wholesale deal that allows rival Orange to access its full fibre network in Spain.

The deal, initially signed in 2016, enables Orange to offer FTTP in areas where it is not planning to deploy its own network.

Telefónica, which also has a similar deal in place with Vodafone, has now passed 19.2 million premises passed with FTTH in Spain as of the end of 2017, up 2.1 million throughout the year.

Read more: Operators in praise for regulator shock as they explain Spain’s “zero to hero” fibre journey

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