May 30, 2019 / 6:04 AM / 5 months ago

Israel's Partner Communications Q1 profit falls 78%

TEL AVIV, May 30 (Reuters) - Partner Communications , Israel’s second-largest mobile phone operator, reported a 78% drop in quarterly profit as it continues to invest heavily in the deployment of a fibre-optics network and its TV service.

Partner said on Thursday it earned 2 million shekels ($553,189) in the first quarter, down from 9 million a year earlier and compared with a loss of 3 million shekels forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Revenue slipped 4% to 794 million shekels, with its cellular subscriber base falling by 1% in the quarter to 2.62 million.

Partner’s revenue and profit have plunged in the wake of a 2012 reform that opened up the mobile market to new players, sharply reducing prices. It is seeking new revenue streams and is making a push to become an integrated multi-service telecoms group.

The company said over 152,000 households had subscribed to its internet-based TV service and its fibre optics infrastructure has reached over 400,000 households.

“In recent months, we have focused on the strategy of providing value to Partner’s customers in all areas of the group’s business,” CEO Isaac Benbenisti said. “This strategy is expected to bring results both on the revenue side and in increasing customer loyalty.”

On Tuesday, Cellcom, Israel’s largest mobile phone operator, reported a loss of 16 million shekels.

$1 = 3.6154 shekels Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer

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