French incumbent talks up convergence strategy after adding 308,000 fibre connections.

Orange on Thursday hailed the success of its convergence strategy as second quarter revenue inched up led by Spain and a recovery at its Africa and Middle East division.

The French incumbent turned over €10.21 billion in the three months to 30 June, up 1.4% on last year. Spain was the standout performer, growing revenues by 8.8% to €1.34 billion.

Revenue at Orange’s domestic operation grew for the first time since 2009, albeit by a modest 0.5% to €4.45 billion.

"The strategy that we have been following for several quarters, which centred on giving customers an unbeatable experience through convergence around the home and a quality network, is now yielding results," said Orange CEO Stephane Richard, in a statement.

Indeed, Orange added 308,000 fibre connections during the quarter, thanks to its aggressive fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments in France and Spain. Over the last 12 months, Orange’s fibre base in France has surged to 1.69 million from 1.18 million, while in Spain, it has grown to 1.95 million from 1.22 million.

On the mobile side, Orange’s 4G customer base in Europe including France grew 39% on last year to 31.6 million.

Orange’s Africa and Middle East unit saw positive signs during the quarter, with revenue increasing to €1.25 billion from €1.22 billion on mobile net additions of 3.9 million.

The telco ended the quarter with 207.41 million mobile customers and 19.13 million fixed-line customers in total. This time last year, those figures stood at 188.31 million and 18.15 million respectively.

The improved operations helped Orange to grow group adjusted EBITDA to €3.38 billion from €3.3 billion a year ago.

Orange also provided financial figures for the first six months of 2017.

Revenue came in at €20.28 billion, up 1.1% on last year on a comparable basis, again driven by a strong performance in Spain and a stable domestic performance. Adjusted EBITDA increased to €5.98 billion from €5.85 billion.

However, net profit was down sharply to €830 million from €3.32 billion in the first half of 2016. This is because last year Orange’s profit was boosted to the tune of €2.25 billion by the sale of EE to BT.

The decline was also driven by a €349 million impairment related to Orange’s stake in BT, which has seen its share price plunge this year due to weakness at Global Services and the Italian accounting scandal.