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OTE: Investments with emphasis on FTTH and 5G network

OTE will further improve its operational and financial performance this year, according to the Group's management

Its chairman & CEO, Michael Tsamaz, stated that “having a clear strategy towards the customer, OTE has proven that it is able to maintain its leadership position and to deal with any change that occurs in the market and competitive conditions.”

He made the statement following reports about the possible sale of Nova. Tsamaz refused to comment on rumours and stressed that OTE “has achieved very good performance in any conditions it has been called upon to face,” recalling the intensity of competition (with a price war) at the beginning of 2023.

In response to a question regarding the subsidiary in Romania, Telekom Romania Mobile (TKRM), he said that discussions on the sale of 100% are ongoing, which, if it happens, will improve the Group’s cash flow.

Meanwhile, OTE is in negotiations with the Quantum Projects Group, controlled by Adrian Tomșa, owner of the large media group Clever Media in Romania. The two parties have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, to facilitate the process and have submitted an application for approval of the sale to the competent Romanian authorities.

Regarding the expansion of the fiber optic network to homes and businesses (FTTH) and the penetration of the service, the management of OTE reported that in the last quarter of 2023 there was a record number of new subscribers and even without subsidies.

In 2023, OTE created 420,000 new FTTH lines, with 1.331 million homes and businesses having access to the new network at the end of the previous year, with the aim of reaching approximately 1.8 million this year. This includes investments in “Infrastructure Ultra-Fast Broadband” that will bring ultra-high Internet speeds up to 1Gbps to semi-urban and rural areas of the country.

OTE remains the largest fiber optic network provider in Greece, having installed over 80% of the country’s FTTH lines.
In the fourth quarter of 2023, OTE had 35,000 new FTTH connections, with a total customer base of 251,000. OTE’s FTTH infrastructure penetration (percentage of customers on available OTE lines) reached 19.5%, up from 15.8% a year ago.

OTE’s management appears confident of the Group’s further growth in 2024, based on current market dynamics. It noted that “continued economic growth, driving demand for retail services, ARPU (average revenue per user) enhancement initiatives and cost savings will continue to create positive momentum. Despite the expected challenges in certain areas, especially in traditional voice services and in some output categories.”

OTE management estimated that free cash flow will reach approximately 470 million in 2024, reflecting higher income tax payments compared to 2023. Group investments for 2024 are expected to total between 610-620 million euros.