Liberty Puerto Rico reports $109M in 2Q20 revenue, up 5.1% Y-O-Y
Lifted by efforts to help residential and business customers navigate the COVID-19 quarantine and lockdown, Liberty Puerto Rico reported $109 million for the second quarter, a 5.1% increase compared to the same period in 2019, and a 4.3% jump over the first quarter in 2020.
The financial results showed that Liberty added 33,500 revenue generating units during the second quarter, driven by its growth in high speed data subscribers, partly due to the need for broadband for remote workers and students, Naji Khoury, CEO of Liberty Puerto Rico, said.
“I feel proud that we have had such great results, as these numbers not only reflect our uninterrupted ability to offer connectivity and entertainment services, but also reflect our drive to be a good corporate citizen by helping our residential and business customers maintain their service at a time when they needed it the most, even if they could not afford it,” he said.
“When we say we care for our customers, we mean it. We worked with them to ensure that they would be able to keep working and studying from home for their safety and peace of mind,” he said.
The company launched several initiatives to help customers facing financial hardship due to the lockdown, such as: adopting and expanding the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep America Connected pledge; waiving late and reconnection fees; offering temporary recurring discounts and payment plans; gaving a 30% discount to customers receiving unemployment benefits; and introducing a 10mbps Internet plan for $24.99 with applicable bundles with VoIP and television as a more affordable option. Liberty continued offering the benefits after the pledge expired in June, Khoury said.
Moreover, the company offered a very basic internet service of 5mbps for free to 5,284 customers who could not afford it to give them a chance to get back on their feet, he said.
Khoury said securing internet access to residential and business customers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was “a top priority” for Liberty at the start of the second quarter of 2020. The company, through its Liberty Foundation, is now working to identify communities needing internet access, particularly for students that will start the school year online, he said.
The company, he explained, is continuously investing to make upgrades to its infrastructure and increase its network’s capacity, but the demand during the lockdown became so high that the Liberty team had to advance almost a year worth of work in a couple of weeks.
The company increased its distribution network by 24% and increased its core network capacity by 1,300 Gbps to accommodate the increase of up to almost 50% in data consumption that emerged during the second quarters.
“The average usage per household jumped to nearly 400GB per month in April, which represents a 45% increase versus pre-COVID-19 quarantine numbers. This usage is also 20 times larger than a mobile internet household using 20GB per month. Nearly 40% of that usage went to streaming video, with Netflix taking 28% of that usage, and YouTube taking the other 12%,” Khoury said.
“Clearly, this pandemic further demonstrated that families with just mobile devices cannot work or study from home effectively,” Khoury said. “Broadband penetration on the island has increased and we anticipate that it will continue to increase as fixed broadband proves to be a necessity.”
During the quarter, Liberty quietly launched next-generation services for its video customers through set-top boxes that offer enhanced functionality. Khoury said full-blown marketing efforts for the enhanced video services will take place later this year.
Also on the agenda is completing the acquisition of AT&T Puerto Rico, which was expected to close during the first half of this year. However, Khoury said the pandemic has affected the speed with which the deal has moved forward but will happen before year’s end. Related to that transaction, Liberty Puerto Rico officially changed its name from Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico to Liberty Communications of Puerto Rico LLC during the second quarter, to reflect “the company’s evolution from a cable television business to a full-service communications provider.”
“This change came about to better reflect the technology and services the company offers today such as fiber optic connections, IT solutions and managed services, and of course our upcoming venture into mobile,” Khoury said. “Looking back, I’m very proud of how far this team has come and we have so much more to look forward to.”