MOBILE phone retailer Carphone Warehouse has reported a modest rise in revenue as many consumers hold off buying a new phone until 4G contracts are more widely available. Carphone Warehouse posted a sixth consecutive quarter of improved revenues despite new customer connections tailing off as performance was boosted by the popularity of more expensive smartphones. Like-for-like revenues for the UK in the third quarter ending December 28 were up five per cent against a strong comparative the year, before when it had climbed 16 per cent. Across the group it was up 3.1 per cent. This was despite the wider pre-pay market shrinking by a worse- than-expected 30 per cent. Its own pre-pay connections were down 12.7 per cent while connections with postpay customers on monthly contracts were broadly flat. The group said it had boosted its share of the wider market. The popularity of more expensive devices such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy meant that despite the falling numbers, revenues were up. Carphone said activity was reduced as customers awaited the wide roll-out of new highspeed 4G services across Europe . Chief executive Andrew Harrison said: "As anticipated, postpay volumes remain subdued while the market transitions to 4G. "Against this, our strong brand awareness and our excellent retail executionmeant that Carphone Warehouse again increased its UKmarket share." The group said customer demand for 4G was encouraging as coverage was expanded, with a pricing premium for these services. There were a record number of visits to its website over the period. In Europe , there were "creditable performances from a number of markets", particularly Spain and Ireland , while there was continued progress in Germany . Its joint venture Virgin Mobile France saw a decline in year-on- year revenues, but the group said this was expected to slow in the fourth quarter. Carphone reiterated its guidance for full-year underlying earnings at [pounds]140m to [pounds]160m. "While challenging market dynamics across Europe remain, we are very encouraged by the impact of 4G to date and expect its momentum to build as 4G network capacity is expanded across all of our European markets, " it said.
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