JERUSALEM Aug 13 Partner Communications
, Israel's second-largest mobile phone operator, said
its quarterly profit more than doubled as lower operating and
debt financing costs offset a fall in revenue caused by fierce
Partner, which operates under the Orange brand
name, earned 46 million shekels ($13.2 million) in the second
quarter, up from 20 million a year earlier and above an estimate
of 39.9 million shekels in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Its bottom line was helped by an 8 percent drop in operating
expenses due to cost cuts, while its financing costs slid 31
percent as inflation eased and interest rates on its debt fell.
Revenue dipped 4 percent to 1.09 billion shekels, largely as
service revenue continued to decline. But equipment revenue rose
25 percent in the April-June period.
Rates for mobile services have more than halved in Israel
since the entry of six new providers in 2012, who offered
unlimited calling plans for as little as $20 a month.
"During the second quarter competition in the cellular
market continued to be intense, which resulted in a further
decline in revenues. However, at the same time, the company
continued to adjust its cost structure and implement operational
efficiency measures," Ziv Leitman, Partner's chief financial
officer, said on Wednesday.
Partner launched its 4G network in July and is preparing for
4.5G through an LTE Advanced network.
Its subscriber based declined by 22,000 in the quarter to
2.914 million subscribers and its market shares held steady from
the end of March at about 29 percent, the company said.
Cellcom, Israel's largest mobile operator by
subscribers, posted an 18 percent rise in second-quarter profit,
while Bezeq unit Pelephone - the No.3 player -
reported a 34 percent drop in profit.
(1 US dollar = 3.4880 Israeli shekel)
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Pravin Char)