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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
Customer boost for Orange
Mobile giant Orange has seen sales rise 16% during the first three months of the year, an increase which saw it pass the 40m customer mark.

In the UK, Orange put on 284,000 customers over the period, up 38% on the last quarter of 2001.

The amount of money spent annually by its customers in the UK also increased, to 247 per user from 246.

Total turnover across Orange's European operation in the quarter rose 16% to 3.96 billion euros ($3.6bn; 2.48bn) - in line with analysts' expectations.

Revenue up

Orange now has an active customer base of 12.7 million people in the UK, 15% above the figure recorded at the same stage last year.

The group said non-voice services such as text messaging were continuing to grow, contributing 13.6% of UK revenues in the quarter, up from 11.2% in 2001.

Deputy chief executive and chief financial officer Graham Howe said: "These results keep Orange on track to meet our stated forecasts for 2002.

"As we reach high levels of mobile penetration and growing customer maturity, we see higher wirefree usage as mobile increasingly becomes the primary voice communication device for our customers."

In January, Orange said it had taken over as the mobile phone market leader in the UK, knocking Vodafone back to second place.

Mr Howe said Orange expected average usage and revenue to grow further as new services and handsets are launched.

While warning that "no one should expect this to be an overnight process" he said Orange was driving the pace.

See also:

29 Jan 02 | Business
Orange claims UK lead
06 Sep 01 | Business
Customers flock to Orange
30 Aug 01 | Business
Surprise rise in Orange profits
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