CEO Stephane Richard says convergence strategy is beginning to bear fruit.

Orange this week reported modest first quarter revenue growth driven by its Spanish unit, and said its convergence strategy is beginning to pay off.

The French incumbent said 9.5 million customers had signed up to a convergent offer by the end of March, up 11.2% year-on-year. Net additions in the first quarter came in at 259,000.

"The strategy Orange has pursued over a number of quarters, centred on convergence around the home, the best connectivity in the market due to our sustained investment, and an unparalleled customer experience," is bearing fruit, said Orange CEO Stephane Richard, in a statement on Thursday.

Orange has ramped up its efforts to reposition itself as integrated service provider, and a so-called digital life partner for its customers.

Last week, the company unveiled Djingo, a voice-activated digital assistant like Amazon’s Alexa, or Google Assistant. It also announced that its newly-established Orange Bank will soon begin offering services to customers in France.

"Orange’s diversification into financial services will move into a new phase in 2017. In Africa, Orange Money creossed the 30 million customer mark this quarter, growing by 74% in one year, while in France, the Orange Bank offer will be launched with Orange employees in mid-May and for the general public on 6 July," Richard said.

However, the steady progress on its long-term strategy has yet to translate into stellar financial growth.

First quarter group revenue edged up 0.8% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis to €10.07 billion. Adjusted EBITDA increased to €2.60 billion from €2.55 billion.

"For the fourth consecutive quarter, adjusted EBITDA is growing, underpinning our objective for 2017 of delivering adjusted EBITDA higher than 2016 on a comparable basis," Richard said.

Orange Spain was the standout performer, growing revenues by 8.5% to €1.29 billion, while revenue at its Central European footprint was up 3.2% to €409 million.

However, revenue in its domestic market was flat at €4.43 billion, while growth at its Africa and Middle East division was up by just 0.7% to €1.24 billion.

In France, Orange added 87,000 mobile customers, giving it a total of 21.6 million. However, that figure was down slightly compared to a year earlier, when it had 21.77 million mobile subscribers.

Fixed line broadband customers in France increased to 10.96 million from 10.57 million; Orange’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) base jumped to 1.58 million from 1.08 million in Q1 2016.

On a group basis, Orange ended March with 203.50 million mobile customers, u from 190.84 million a year ago. Its fixed broadband base grew to 18.95 million from 17.99 million, while TV subscribers grew to 8.63 million from 8.18 million.