UPC Ireland sees rise in broadband, phone subscribers

Company added a further 51,500 customers last year

Digital cable TV customers totalled 333,200 at the end of the fourth quarter, down from 338,300 a year earlier.

Digital cable TV customers totalled 333,200 at the end of the fourth quarter, down from 338,300 a year earlier.

 

UPC Ireland added a further 51,500 subscribers last year, bringing its total subscription base up to 1,111,200.

The Liberty Global-owned company said that total subscriptions increased by 5 per cent during 2014 with 6,000 new subscribers added in the fourth quarter.

UPC recorded a 7 per cent rise in broadband subscriptions in the fourth quarter to end the year with 363,400 broadband customers. Phone customers rose 17 per cent year-on year to 344,300. Digital cable TV customers totalled 333,200, down from 338,300 a year earlier.

During the final quarter of 2014, the company announced the acquisition of Irish-owned Wi-Fi company Bitbuzz for an undisclosed sum thought to be in the region of €5-6 million. It also launched an upgraded “out-of-home” version of its mobile app Horizon Go, which allows subscribers to its television to watch Irish content on portable devices outside of the home.

In January, the company announced plans to launch its own on-demand streaming service known as “My Prime”, which will go head-to-head with Netflix. The service is expected to launch shortly and will offer films and television series that can be viewed across multiple platforms.

In less pleasing news, it also announced price increases of more than 10 per cent for subscribers earlier this year.

“I am pleased with the results which reflect yet another satisfactory year where our home and business customers continued to select our products over other providers in the marketplace,” said UPC chief executive Magnus Ternsjo.

“In 2015, we intend to grow our leadership position by further developing our connected entertainment services and our award winning fibre powered broadband products. We will also build on our highly popular phone service and enter the mobile arena which will allow us to offer quad play making UPC even more attractive to our customers,” he added.

Meanwhile, parent company Liberty Global, which is controlled by billionaire John Malone, said fourth- quarter sales rose 3.3 per cent to $4.62 billion, missing analysts’ estimates, as a decline in video subscribers offset growth in high-speed Internet service.

The net loss for the quarter widened to $523.4 million from $121.2 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Liberty Global said it added 351,000 subscription services in the quarter, ending the year with a total of 55.9 million, including 24.3 million for video, 17.3 million for Internet and 14.3 million for telephone service.

Additional reporting: Bloomberg