Following the trend of the first nine months of 2010, the last quarter of the year has been quite challenging for the country and the telecom industry, with countinuously adverse macroeconomic environment resulting in further drop of the consumer expenditure. Fierce competition has led to continuous erosion of the retail prices in the corporate segment and the market has approached saturation with estimated penetration of over 140%.
GLOBUL's postpaid customer base increased by over 7% in the last quarter of 2010, compared to Q4'2009, reaching a total of 2.3 million, or 58.3% of total customer base. The migration of prepaid customers to postpaid through innovative offers has continued, though less intensively than in the beginning of 2010, and this has led to a decrease in the prepaid customer base. As a result, GLOBUL's total customer base at the end of 2010 stood stable at approximately 3.9 million, slightly higher than in 2009.
GLOBUL's fixed line services continued their strong growth in Q4'2010, with the subscriber base exceeding 140,000 customers. Mobile data services also recorded a significant increase vs. previous year, with the subscribers' base growth of over 50%.
Despite the challenging business environment, GLOBUL & Germanos managed to further reduce the cost base by over 6.6% compared to Q4'2009 through consistent cost rationalization initiatives focusing primarily on selling, distribution, network, advertising and administrative expenses.
As a result of the above measures, Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) increased by 3.6% compared to Q4'2009, while the EBITDA margin is over 2.5 pp above prior year. This has led to a full year 2010 EBITDA decrease of 5.6% compared to 2009, while the respective EBITDA margin increased by 1.2pp up to 40.7%.
Service revenues declined by 8% in Q4'2010, mainly due to lower interconnection rates, macroeconomic factors and intense competition in the business postpaid segment.
Average usage per customer continued to grow with blended AMOU for Q4'2010 at 149 min, or over 17% above Q4'2009, while blended ARPU for Q4'2010 has reached BGN 16.4, or 4.2% below same period prior year.