UPDATE 1-OTE Telecom sees solid 2021 as coronavirus impact fades out

(Add comment on “solid” 2021, 5G)

ATHENS, May 12 (Reuters) - OTE Telecom, Greece’s biggest telecoms operator, posted higher core profit on Wednesday and said that 2021 will be a solid” year as the negative effect of the pandemic fades out.

OTE Telecom, 46% owned and managed by Deutsche Telecom , said core earnings (EBITDA) reached 301 million euros ($365.08 million) in the first quarter, up from 296.5 million euros in the first quarter last year.

Group revenue fell by 1.2% at 787.9 million euros, as weak operations in Romania more than offset growing sales of mobile handsets at home.

However, OTE was confident that revenues will recover, helping the group achieve a “solid” 2021 thanks to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions and the upcoming reopening of tourism in Greece as vaccinations in the country gathered pace.

OTE has been investing heavily in fast broadband services in recent years. It launched 5G services last year and plans that the new technology will cover more than 50% of the country’s 11 million population by the end of the year.

$1 = 0.8245 euros Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Editing by Louise Heave