UPDATE 1-Mobistar profits fall less than expected
(Adds analyst comments, details on fixed line)
BRUSSELS Oct 21 (Reuters) - Belgian mobile phone operator Mobistar on Monday reported a 26 percent fall in third-quarter profits but this was a smaller drop than expected as the group kept costs low.
Core profit (EBITDA) in the third quarter fell 26 percent to 89.1 million euros ($122.03 million), well ahead of the 64.8 million expected in a Reuters poll of five analysts.
"It's an incredible beat in EBITDA terms, but we're not getting details on how they saved costs," said Degroof analyst Bart Jooris.
The company, which focuses on mobile telephony and has no fixed-line network of its own, in May pulled the plug on TV and broadband services, the latter using the network of Belgium's largest telecoms firm Belgacom.
The group said it did this because it was unable to offer a competitive package with the wholesale terms it was given.
"It could be that the switch-off of their TV services had an impact on their costs," said KBC analyst Thomas Deschepper.
Mobistar repeated its forecast that turnover would decline by as much as 12 percent in 2013 and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would be a minimum of 300 million euros ($394 million). ($1 = 0.7302 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Jane Merriman)
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