UPDATE 1-Carphone Warehouse sales get 4G boost

Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:48am EST

LONDON Jan 21 (Reuters) - Carphone Warehouse, Europe's biggest independent mobile phone retailer, beat consensus forecasts for third-quarter revenue growth at its main CPW Group business, helped by growing sales of 4G superfast mobile broadband products.

Mobile operator EE, a joint venture between Frances' Orange and Deutsche Telekom, launched 4G into Britain in late 2012, while rivals Telefonica's O2 and Vodafone started services in August last year.

Take-up of 4G is being driven by rocketing demand for mobile data.

"There is a real willingness for customers to move to 4G and a willingness for them to understand that data usage is going to go up in the future," Carphone Chief Executive Andrew Harrison told Reuters on Tuesday.

"This time next year we should be looking at quite a significant deployment within the market," he said, noting that growing penetration of 4G was also driving a rise in incremental average revenue per user (ARPU).

Shares in Carphone, up over a quarter in the last year, rose 1.4 percent after the firm said sales at CPW Group stores open over a year rose 3.1 percent in the three months to Dec. 28.

That was a sixth straight quarter of like-for-like growth. It compared to analysts' consensus forecast of growth of 2 percent and second quarter like-for-like growth of 3.6 percent.

CPW UK like-for-like revenue rose 5 percent during the quarter, building on growth of 16 percent in the same period last year.

The firm said its Virgin Mobile France joint venture maintained its postpay customer base at 1.33 million, though revenue fell 15.6 percent reflecting a declining overall market.

Carphone reiterated its full-year guidance for headline earnings per share of 17-20 pence, up from 12.3 pence in the 2012-13 year.

It also reiterated guidance for pro-forma headline earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 140-160 million pounds ($230-263 million) for CPW Group.

Carphone shares were up 3 pence at 282.5 pence at 0846 GMT, giving a market capitalisation of about 1.6 billion pounds.

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