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Telefonica Brasil SA (NYSE:VIV)
Q4 2019 Earnings Call
Feb 19, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. At this time, we would like to welcome everyone to the Telefonica Brasil Fourth Quarter of 2019 Earnings Conference Call.

Today with us, representing the management of Telefonica Brasil, we have Mr. Christian Gebara, CEO of the company; Mr. David Melcon, CFO and Investor Relations Officer; and Mr. Luis Plaster, IR Director.

We also have a simultaneous webcast with slide presentation on the Internet that can be accessed on the site, www.telefonica.com.br/ir. There will be a replay facility for this call on the website. After the company's remarks are over, there will be a question-and-answer section.

[Operator Instructions]

Before proceeding, let me mention that forward-looking statements are being made under the safe harbor of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1996. Forward-looking statements are based on the company's management beliefs and assumptions and on the information currently available. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions because they relate to future events, and therefore, depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future.

Investors should understand that general economic conditions, industry conditions and other operating factors could also affect the company's future results and could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements.

Now, I will turn the conference over to Mr. Luis Plaster, Investor Relations Director of Telefonica Brasil. Mr. Plaster, you may begin your conference.

Luis Plaster -- Investor Relations Director

Good morning, everybody, and thank you for joining us in this conference call for Telefonica Brasil's 2019 fourth quarter and full-year results. The call will be divided as follows. To start, Christian Gebara, our CEO, will give you an overview of our operational and financial performance, and then go over our commercial and capex evolution. After that, our CFO, David Melcon, will comment on our cost structure efficiency, digitalization initiatives and financial results. We will then move to Q&A.

I now pass the word to Christian.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Plaster. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for taking part in our fourth quarter and full-year 2019 results call. I'll start by commenting on the highlights of the quarter and year on Slide 3.

Fiber continued to be our main growth lever, benefited by the footprint expansion seen throughout the year. In the fourth quarter, our FTTH customer base increased by 30.8%, while our revenues grew 37.6% year-over-year. We are confident that our fiber results will drive our fixed business back to sustainable growth in the near future.

In mobile, our leading position, in terms of quality and customer experience, culminated in a year-over-year growth of 6.9% of our postpaid subscriber base in a year that we applied bold price increases that contributed to a 4.1% increase of our postpaid revenues in the quarter.

Our top line increased by 2.6% year-over-year in the quarter four, maintaining the good pace of growth reached in the previous quarter, driven by an above-inflation increase of 5.7% in mobile revenues. On the cost side, our efficiency program that relies on digitalization, simplification and automation initiatives, continues to produce significant results. Opex, as cost of goods sold, decreased 1.9% year-over-year in Q4, enabling us to reach the highest EBITDA growth of the year, 5.4%, with a recurring margin of 38.2%, the highest ever for the company.

In 2019, we were also able to generate our highest-ever level of free cash flow, BRL8.2 billion, growing 19% year-over-year, representing a free cash flow yield of 9%, despite our higher investment in the year, that allow us to propose a shareholder remuneration of BRL5.8 billion for the year with a payout of 116% over our BRL5 billion of net income, resulting in a solid 6% dividend yield.

In addition to these positive results, and no less important, we recently redefined an interest of our company's purpose, which is digitalize to bring closer. At Vivo, we are determined to digitalize Brazil, so as to offer best-in-class connectivity and distributed digital services, result in an unique experience for our customers. For technology, education, security, entertainment and other services, we want to approach companies through customers, people through premium content and drive closer human interactions. All of these based on an inclusive and diverse internal culture, built around the principles of sustainability, aimed at balancing our economic, social and environmental impacts.

Moving to Slide 4, you can see that our mobile revenues grew 5.7% in the fourth quarter, including handset sales that were up by 46.2% year-over-year. If we exclude handsets, mobile service revenues increased 2.2%. Mobile service revenues growth was driven both by a solid performance of our postpaid revenues that increased 4.1% year-over-year as a result of the upselling of services, combined with price increases, applied during 2019, and by the gradual recovery of prepaid that presented the quarter-over-quarter growth of 2.8%, leading to a year-over-year drop of 3.1% in Q4.

In fact, we are pursuing a More for More strategy in prepaid, and in January 2020, we increased the price of our entry-level Vivo Total offer by 20% nationally from BRL9.99 to BRL11.99 per week, go in the direction of a much-needed rational approach for prepaid offers.

Moving to Slide 5, in November 9, 2019, we had 32.9% of all mobile customers in Brazil, our highest market share since 2006. That undisputed leadership reflects Vivo's superiority in terms of network quality, customer care, brand and channels, contributing to an outstanding overall user experience and maintaining churn levels under control. In Q4, we reached our peak in the year in terms of new postpaid customers with 875,000 net adds, even after increasing prices in Q3 that led to an ARPU increase of 1.7% year-over-year to BRL29.8, demonstrating that we have a solid and rational value proposition.

Such strong seasonal sales were also seen in our handset business. The promotional activities implemented, during Black November and Christmas, led to 20% year-over-year increase in the number of handsets sold, with an important unitary value increase of 35%, that not only contributed to a very good result in handsets revenue but also to an increase in our in-store traffic, improving the sales services.

Moving to our fixed business on Slide 6. In Q4, fixed revenues decreased 2.8% impacted by voice decline and the strategic decision to stop selling DTH services, which contributing to a significant decrease of pay TV revenues. Despite that, in Q4, we were able to disaccelerate the pace of year-over-year reduction, and quarter-over-quarter, fixed revenues expanded 1%, the best results in the year and in many other years.

The performance of our growing business, Fiber, IPTV, Data plus IT, continued to push us further ahead in terms of the transformation of our revenue mix. These products already represent 52% of our total fixed revenues and were up by 12.8% year-over-year in Q4. We are getting closer to an inflection point of fixed, whether we would be able to resume growth of a business that represents 35% of our top line. FTTH and IPTV revenues now represent 21% of overall fixed revenues with FTTH reaching BRL586 million, growing 38% year-over-year, and IPTV to BRL244 milion, increasing 22% year-over-year.

On Slide 7, you can see the customers' fiber-based service already account for almost 40% of our broadband plus Pay TV subs, allowing us to build a fixed base with higher ARPU and superior lifetime value. In 2019, FTTH accesses grew 31%, representing 36% of our broadband customer base, a 11 percentage point increase versus a year ago. As a result, broadband ARPU increased 14% year-over-year to BRL72, as FTTH customers have significantly higher ARPU than customers from other technologies.

On the right hand side of the slide, represent the evolution of our IPTV business. In 2019, IPTV accesses increased 23% year-over-year and for the first time represent more than half of our overall Pay TV customer base, contributing to an ARPU improvement of 5%, reaching BRL109.

Now moving to Slide 8. 2019 was the year in which we performed the largest-ever expansion of our FTTH network, building 2.3 million home passed and adding 43 new cities. We are now present in 164 cities across the country with 11 million homes passed. In Q4, we launched the first city in partnership with American Tower, Barbacena, in the state of Minas Gerais, which was a success in terms of integration of network systems and platforms.

We also entered in new cities by both expanding geographically and overlaying our existing FTTC network to defend and upgrade our customer base. Not to mention, our franchise model through which two cities in Goias were already launched with strong initial result in terms of take-up. Our strong FTTH expansion not only give us the truest transform of fixed business by capturing the demand for high-quality fixed net connectivity, but also helps us defend our postpaid customer base.

On Slide 9, we present the capex for the year that reached BRL8.8 billion, below our BRL9 billion guidance, as we have been efficiently deploying our resources. The investments in fiber increased 13% year-over-year, amplifying our presence to 164 cities with FTTH. Additionally, capex related to 4G and 4.5G grew 51% year-over-year, allowing us to further improve both quality and coverage consolidating our mobile leadership. The network sharing agreement, signed with TIM last December, is pending approval to start being implemented and produce efficiencies.

I now pass it on to our CFO, David Melcon.

David Melcon Sanchez-Friera -- Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer

Good morning, everyone, and thank you, Christian.

Moving to Slide 10, cost efficiency continue to be one of our main strengths, leveraging on the implementation of initiatives related to digitalization, simplification and automation that took our annual EBITDA margin from 32% in 2016 when we started to accelerate the optimization of our cost structure to 36.2% in 2019, increasing our margin by 4%, 12 points.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, our cost increased by 1% with below inflation of 4.3%, leading to an EBITDA margin of 38.2% in the period. If we exclude the cost of goods sold that grew 25% due to the ongoing acceleration of handset sales, our expenses decreased by 1.9% year-over-year. Personnel cost which represents 40% of total opex increased 4.5% as a result of the insourcing of IT and security activities that leads to important gains in quality and productivity. The insourcing of such activities has as a counterpart a positive impact on the evolution of our cost of service rendered which account for 38.6% of our total opex and decreased 4% year-over-year. In addition to the insourcing, the performance was benefited by lower cost with network maintenance, interconnection and TV content.

Commercial expenses excluding bad debt decreased 7.3% in the period, driven by lower expenses with call centers, back office, billing and posting, benefiting from the continued digitalization of our customer care. In the fourth quarter of 2019, commercial expenses represent 24% of our total opex.

On Slide 11, you can see the improvements of our digitalization and automation initiatives that continue to optimize our opex structure and improve our customer experience and relationship with the company. At the end of 2019, we had 73% of our customers receiving e-bills, and more than 50% of the payments were made through digital platforms. Our digital channels are being used by more than 16 million unique users, contributing to an impressive 25% year-over-year reduction of incoming costs to our call centers.

We are also improving the productivity of our back office operations by implementing automation in many processes. We have more than 500 robots running across the company with a very high level of accuracy in their functions. The automation of processor heads, for example, to reduce the number of visits to the field to solve technical products. Currently 62% of all technical support queries initiated through our app Meu Vivo are solved digitally without human interaction.

All these initiatives allowed us to consistently reduce our opex in absolute terms year-over-year. In 2019, all the digitalization initiatives allowed us to capture BRL452 million savings when compared to the 2018 cost base, and BRL846 million reduction compared to the 2017 cost base. These savings represent an achievement of 54% of the BRL1.6 billion target expected for the end of 2021.

Now moving to Slide 12, reported net income for 2019 reached BRL5 billion. If we exclude the non-recurring figures it reached BRL5.4 billion, 2.5% up in comparable terms versus the previous year. The result was impacted by EBITDA expansion, backed by solid top line growth and contention of costs, lower financial cost driven by the reduction of interest rates, higher depreciation and amortization expenses related to the expansion of our asset base and higher recurring taxes resulting from positive results and a lower distribution of interest on capital versus the previous year.

We are proposing a shareholder remuneration based on 2019 results of BRL5.8 billion, representing a payout of 116% over our reported net income for the year. This is equivalent to BRL3.53 per preferred shares, a robust dividend yield of 6%. In addition, we have just declared BRL270 million of interest on capital based on our initial results of 2020.

Turning to Slide 13, in 2019, free cash flow grew 19% year-over-year to an all-time high of BRL8.2 billion, in a year in which we accelerated our investments and operating cash flow, as well as reduced our interest and income tax payments and improved working capital. As a result, we have been able to increase investment in cutting-edge technology such as fiber and 4.5G which will support our leadership in Brazil, our revenue growth going forward. And we also maintained a high level of shareholder remuneration, which is unique among Latin telcos.

Thank you. And now we can move to the Q&A.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. The floor is now open for questions. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Maria Tereza Azevedo with Banco Santander.

Maria Tereza Azevedo -- Banco Santander -- Analyst

Hi, everyone. Thank you for the call and for taking the question. So I would like to ask what are your initial views on the proposed 5G auction? Its structure, its expected timing, the number of national licenses and how valuable you think that spectrum is for your strategy? And is it fair for us to continue to assume that 5G in Brazil is not going to bring a disruptive capex cycle ahead, especially considering a much stronger collaboration activity between the players. And if I may -- if you can please also share your views on the network sharing agreement that you have? What are your expectations in terms of savings? And if you see any further collaboration deals in insight? Thank you very much.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Maria Tereza, this is Christian. Thanks for the call -- for the questions. So, yes, well, as you said all the public hearing just started for the 5G. What we see today is better than was talked before. So I think that's a good sign for the 5G that we have more spectrum available for the 3.5, and that's going to be 400 megahertz that is good because we believe that with 5G, we need to have at least 80 megahertz to 100 megahertz minimum to have the good experience in the 5G. We also have the 90 megahertz in 2.3, that also can be needed, and it's more defined in the regions that are the Brazilian regions and not some of the regions that were talked before. We have the 700 that's going to be in two rounds. So also good to know that in the second round those like people that don't have the possibility to bid in the first one, will be able to bid in the second one.

So, overall what we see, we still need to wait for the public hearing, and the final definition of the auction. But so far, it looks reasonable, and also there is this attempt to have much more obligations associated to the sale of the frequency rather than having it in the price of the bid. No, so we are -- we've been working to have this as the way for us to optimize our investment, bringing more connectivity to Brazil rather than paying for their license itself. So, so far it seems good. We still need to wait, what's going to be the final document and the official rules for the auction. No. So that I think answers the first part of your question.

About 5G, yes, we still need to wait for the ecosystems to be placed, I don't know if it's something in Brazil, but I think it's worldwide. We still are developing this ecosystem for 5G. Brazil is a continental country and there is still a challenge to confer with 4G and 4.5G. We're doing that, and we did a lot in 2019. We continue to doing that in 2020. We will do much more fiber in our backlog. That's also going to allow us to be much more competitive in quality for the 5G. So we're doing all the infrastructure investment that is needed to give a better experience in 4.5G and be prepared toward the 5G when it happens. So I think that was the second piece of your question.

And the third one, the sharing -- I think sharing will be needed not now, but also for the future. So we are optimistic about the approval of the sharing that we have proposed. It has different areas of the sharing this 2G, 2G then also is going to bring a lot of saving, but allow us to be much more focused in the future technology 4G and 5G rather than 2G and share infrastructure with the other player.

There is also the Single Grid that is in play -- the Single Grid will also be good and give us opex savings in the future once it is implemented and approved. And there is the 4G piece that will for the proposal that is in the table right now give us new coverage in cities that we are not present and will give to our partner presence in cities that we are present and they are not. So we do believe the share is the way to go forward especially in 5G that more sites will be needed. And not only sharing, but also loss in municipalities that allow us to implement more infrastructure to be able to be competitive in 5G. I don't know if I answered all your questions, but...

Maria Tereza Azevedo -- Banco Santander -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you very much, Christian.

Operator

Next question comes from the Rodrigo Villanueva, Bank of America. You may proceed.

Rodrigo Villanueva -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning, Christian, David, Plaster. My first question is related to the wireless business. With several wireless price hikes in 2019, why you see that wireless service revenue is only growing by around 2%? And is there a level where you see wireless voice revenue stabilizing? And the second question is a question more related to the rhetoric between the US government and Huawei. With the increased escalation, it is something that could prevent Vivo from using Huawei equipment in the future, and how relevant is Huawei as a vendor provided for Vivo? Thank you.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Rodrigo, this is Christian. So thanks for the questions. Our price increase were, as you know, in the third quarter mainly, and a little bit in the fourth quarter. So these movements that we first did in the market like helped the revenues for third and partially in the fourth quarter. That movement was partially followed more in the postpaid and in hybrid from our competitors. We now just started a new movement if price increase in the prepaid. So we -- now nationally we changed our price BRL9.99 to BRL11.99 in our weekly offer that is another bold move that we're leading this market to rationalize pricing here in Brazil.

So again, I think, mobile business is doing pretty well. You may see some volatility quarter-by-quarter because we always compare to different quarters in the previous year where we had or not have a price increase. So I think that's really as realistic that we're going to see going forward.

In the last quarter, our net adds in postpaid was a good one, was the best one in the year, and also our churn seems to be control. So hopefully, rationality that we start seeing hybrid from some players in postpaid, we may see and we should see in the prepaid. You all need to be more rational and not give so much benefit with no price change in the prepaid, because that's the base for hybrid and postpaid going forward. And also the economy needs to help us. If unemployment gets reduced as we expect, we're going to see more consumption. And if we see more consumption, we're going to see more revenues.

So that's the piece in mobile. If you have more questions later on, you let me know when I complete. In Huawei, yes, Huawei is an important provider for Vivo, in access and also in core. We are not going to speculate to what's going to happen because we're following all the security measure that we need with any provider that's used in the Telefonica Group and in Vivo. So far we've been totally comfortable with the situation that we have, but of course we are monitoring, and in the future decision that may happen. So far, how it is relevant for us as to any other player in this market and they are very advanced in the 5G technology as you know. So we keep monitoring, and if there is any change, we need to react upon this change.

Rodrigo Villanueva -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Understood. Thanks and very clear. Thank you.

Operator

Next question comes from Diego Aragao with Goldman Sachs. You may proceed.

Diego Aragao -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Yes. Good morning, all. Thank you for taking my question. First, you reported lower-than-expected investments in 2019 of BRL8.8 billion, which was also lower than your initial plans. Even though I would agree with you that you can definitely enjoy some efficiency on capex, what's Vivandi to you to use the excess, let's say, cash to speed up investments in growing 4G and FTTH areas? I mean, why don't you anticipate some of your future investments? And maybe as a compliment, any initial thoughts on the franchise business model? Thank you.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Diego, I think we had the plan to deploy 4G, 4.5G and FTTH for the year. Now, these are the key drivers of our capex expenditure, and what we decided to increase it when we went from 8 to 9 as you point out in the beginning. So we wanted to deploy 2.3 billion homes-passed. We wanted to reach certain number of cities with 4.5G and we accomplished everything that we had planned.

So with the economy there regarding capex was our ability to do that with a lower investment that we first forecasted. Why we didn't use the remaining BRL200 million, because we're just talking about BRL200 million over 8.08 is because of that we don't have time to do that execution. We need to get licenses, we deploy all the workforce to do it. And then when we have the savings, why not be more efficient and bring more free cash flow.

So we wanted to be in 43 cities, we are there. We wanted to deploy 2.3 million homes-passed, we are there. We wanted to reach a percentage of 4.5G and we are there. So, and we're doing all of the IT transformation that we also want to have. So no need to expand money that is not needed to comply with the objective that we defined for the company two, three years ago.

The second question, I don't know what do you want to know about franchising -- I don't know if you want a specific answer, but we launched it as we said in the last quarter. Two new cities are already in place in Goias, very good results, pick-up are on track. In some of them, I think one of them above our business plan. We have many in process of being deployed or new franchisees to be enrolled in our program. We cannot share which is going to be the next, but it's going on track and with good results. The American Tower deal as well, that is our franchise, it's a different one. We launched the first city that's Barbacena in Minas Gerais, and we are planning to launch a series of new cities this year as well.

Diego Aragao -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

That's very helpful, Christian. Thank you very much for these. And maybe just the second question, as you know, M&A remains a super hot topic at this point. And I remember we discussing some of M&A scenarios at our global telco conference in New York I guess, back in September, and at that time, my perception was there were few steps that had to be taken before you or someone takes the lead in this process. So that said, you know we saw important moves taking place since then, and I was wondering if you can share your views on M&A now, and how do you see the prospects for consolidation in the short-term and what would make sense for Vivo if this time comes. Thank you.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

You are talking about mobile consolidation or fixed consolidation, Diego?

Diego Aragao -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Well, you tell me, Christian. I guess, we can definitely start with mobile, I guess it's a kind of consensus that this is the area where it would makes more sense in the short-term, but happy to get your thoughts on the fixed side as well?

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Okay. In mobile, I think the consolidation has started with the acquisition from Claro to Nextel. So it's the first, if you consider Nextel as the fifth player in the market, the consolidation started. We are still monitoring. As you said, of course, we are the leading company in the mobile business in Brazil. If there is any asset on sale, we will need to analyze it, and we are always interested in seeing if there is a fit for what we need.

In case that there is -- this process officially starts, we will be there as one interested party for sure. Now, we really don't know the outcome and which type of asset will be sold, if anything is going to be sold. What is implied with the asset. So we need to analyze in very good detail. And also, of course, if there is anything in mobile on sale, the current player, especially the leading one, that Vivo will be interested in analyzing it. So let's wait and we keep monitoring this process.

In the fixed, as I mentioned, because of course there are many small players in the market. I think their franchising movement that I just mentioned is one first movement that's for company that wanted to launch a new fixed fiber network in a small city, they can do that together with us. That's the case of some of the franchise that we have here interested in being one of our partners, maybe before they wanted to open a new brand by their own, obviously Terra and Vivo as an option for them to deploy their network.

And of course, there are also some players in the market that today work with a different brand that they want to change to Terra brand, pay our royalties and be part of our umbrella or network. So we are doing that. And also there are some companies that may be targets for M&A in the fixed that we are also analyzing.

We haven't found anything that fits with the quality of the network that we need, the usage of FTTH as we have, and in the markets that we cannot do in a more economically way by our own. But if we find something like this, we'll also be monitoring and analyzing as well.

Diego Aragao -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

That's super helpful. Thank you, Christian.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Diego.

Operator

Next question comes from Tito Ferraz, Itau. You may proceed.

Tito Ferraz -- Itau -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning. I would like to know a little bit more about your FTTH network roll out. It's been growing quite well. So if you could please give us some more intel on your goals for 2020? And also looking at your handset sales business, do you believe that this -- you've achieved a very healthy level or can we expect to accelerate even further in the future? If you please could elaborate on this strategy for handset sales, it would help, please?

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Tito, in FTTH, as I said before, we ended the year with 164 cities. Now that was an additional 43 cities. Here, there are two ways of growing in FTTH. We are doing new cities, but we're also doing overlay in some areas of our FTTC footprint where we believe we need to upgrade the speed and the quality of the service that we offer to our customers.

So this year with that we managed to deploy 2.3 million new homes passed, that the mixture of organically expanding in new cities and organically overlaying FTTC cities. For this year, we are not giving guidance, but we may keep the same pace. You can imagine like 2 million homes passed.

Here we need to also add what we're deploying with franchising, that is not in this number, but I don't think this year is going to be significant number of new homes passed, but start building on the volume of homes-passed with Vivo technology behind.

And also, we have the American Tower that is included in the 2 million first, that I told you that is deploying in Minas Gerais. So, keeping this pace of 2 million for this year is going to be a reasonable deployment for 2020.

The way to do that, as I said, is by individually, independently, as we did with all the cities that we entered with Vivo. With American Tower in the cities in Minas Gerais, we're going to split the investment in part of the network, and with this franchisee, where they deploy most of the network, only connect to our backbone. But the customer in there is their customer and we get our royalties. So, that's the way that we're going to go forward, but it will also open to analyze different models. And that's what we're going to do also for this year, next year as we launch the American Tower. At Terra, we are analyzing other models to finance our expansion and even accelerate, if it's possible. That was the first question.

The second question, handsets, we sold also a very strong number. For the quarter, we increased in more than 46% of our revenues in handsets. Now, we have a very important volume, so growth over a very strong and more solid base is not going to be the same. But we keep investing and betting on this business of a way of bringing more customers to our stores, to give up much more complete value proposition to customers, that will go beyond all your handsets. We are selling a lot of accessories and now we're starting also to sell home automation as part of our strategy to be a technology hub. So, we're now extending things for homes, with 5G coming up, it's going to be much more used for Internet of things. So, we want to be selling technology, not only in handset and accessories in B2C, but also in B2B, where we're expanding partnerships with hardware provider, but also the digital service provider such as Microsoft, that we have one of the most important deals for Brazil, where we're increasing also our presence in selling their services for B2B customers.

Tito Ferraz -- Itau -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

Next question comes from Marcelo Santos, JP Morgan. You may proceed.

Marcelo Santos -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning. Thanks for taking my question, Christian, David and then Plaster. The first question would be about the strong ARPU that we are seeing in the fiber-to-the-home broadband. So, a lot of sequential improvement. Could you just help break down that? And are you upgrading, with you just raising prices, new regions have different prices. So, if you just could help to throw some a little bit more color there?And the second question would be about postpaid, which saw some slowdown in the fourth quarter versus the third in terms of revenues. Could you just help to explain a little bit better this trend? Thank you.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Marcelo, this is Christian. FTTH, you're right. We are increasing prices. We are focusing on high speed also, when selling FTTH. So, price increase and a focus on our 100 megabits and 300 megabits rather than 50 megabits. So, our strategy going forward is to focus in high-speed broadband and also not giving more discounts. We used to have also discounts for first months. We are being much more rational increasing price and taking all discounts and focusing a high-speed broadband. So, that's the answer for the increase in ARPU.

In the mobile, as I said, we had our price increase in the third quarter, mostly in the third quarter, hybrid that was the main one. And very, very lateral increase in the first month of the fourth quarter. So, that's why, when you compare -- and also need to compare with previous year, this comparison will always bring some changes in the growth rates of one quarter versus the other quarter. So, that be the key answer for this slightly change that we had in the revenue growth. That can be happening in future quarters because it depends on the quarter you compare and when we decide to do price increase.

So, commercially speaking, November and December, very strong months for our mobile business, not only in handset sales, but also net adds, as I said before, close to 900,000, best results for the quarter compared to the other quarters in the same year.

Marcelo Santos -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you very much.

Operator

Next question comes from Mathieu Robilliard, Barclays. You may proceed.

Mathieu Robilliard -- Barclays -- Analyst

Good morning, and thank you.

I have a question about the fixed line. So, obviously as you pointed out earlier, very strong performance in broadband with good ARPU growth. And also, the corporate segment is doing very well. But when we look at the KPIs, they remain quite depressed. And I was wondering when we look ahead, do you need to post better KPIs to start to see a stabilization of the fixed line? Or do you think that thanks to better value and good growth again in B2B, you can start to stabilize that division? And more specifically, what is your realistic timetable for a return to stability in fixed line?

And then, second question on our EBITDA. So, very good performance in Q4, and largely driven or partly driven by cost cutting. And I was wondering, if you could maybe share the initiatives you have for 2020 and what is the outlook for the cost trajectory in 2020? Thank you.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Mathieu, this is Christian. I will answer the first and then part of the second one, that you want to complement.

You're right, very good performance in what we call the growing business. So, if you split our fixed business in two, what we call more legacy business, and what is the new business, the growing business, you can see that what is the growing business. And I think we have in our presentation, used to represent 45% of our revenues. And this year, we end up representing 52%. So, in a year, we went from 45% representation to 52% of representation. And this business is the one that is growing at 12.8% in the quarter. And if you take out only FTTH, the growth was 38% and IPTV was 22%.

So going forward, we see the representation of this growing business being higher than 52%. And if it is higher and keeping the pace of the growth pace that we have, we can see this compensating the loss that we have, in what we call, traditional business.

The traditional business is driven down by two key products. One is voice. As you know, voice is declining. So, that's something that's being replaced by other technology, that's broadband. And we are trying to keep it as much as we can, but we assume that's going to decline and we need to compensate that.

The other one is DTH. DTH, we decided to stop selling it. Okay. If we continue selling it, it would have a positive impact in our revenue, but a negative impact in our cash generation, because that's capex-intensive. So, as a company, and now believing in the technology going forward, we decided to stop selling it. And just betting in IPTV. And as you see in our IPTV field, there is a representation that we have today of IPTV of our total TV customer base is already 54%. If you look two years behind at 2017, IPTV represented 24% of the customer base. So, it's already 54%. So, we're going to continue on that.

And also you mentioned B2B, good results. We had a growth of both data and IT of 17.8%, that is a very good result. And we intent to keep this pace, although it depends on some deals that we may close with companies -- large companies that maybe give some variation in the quarter-by-quarter comparison. But we are very positive that we would keep growing in data, IT and all digital service related to cybersecurity, cloud to big and medium corporations.

So, when we are going to be the trend switching, while this new growing business will be much more relevant than the legacy, and the positive number we can see. We're not giving a specific timing, by the end of this year, beginning of next year, we see that happening. So, let's see what economy works, but we are positive that may be in any moment of this year, we could see that on the beginning of the next year.

And second question about costs, yes, you're right, we're reducing costs because of digitalization. I think we had this target to BRL1.6 billion to be captured along three years. We are 54% of the target. We still have 2020 and 2021 to reach the target that we put to ourselves, 1.5 year ago. And that's driven by digitalization. We are doing a lot of e-billing. We are doing much more customer care, if you see, it's already 16 million customers using our channel.

We are doing cognitive call centers reducing calls, so now more than 20%[Phonetic] of our calls is handled by Aura, our artificial intelligence agent. We are doing automation, which uses usage of robots internally. So going forward, we see that we're going to capture what we promised, the BRL1.6 billion and the cost will be going down everything that we could digitalize. Although we are going to see price increase in the sale of handsets and all hardware-related to B2B as well.

So, I think this year, we took out the cost of goods sold to show, in different lines, what is our cost evolution.

And also, when we talk about partnership with fiber, when we took partnerships as the one that we did with American Tower, we have some relief in capex, but we generate a new opex because they may prefer home connected. So, depending on the future deployment model that we defined for fiber, we could save some capex or deploy more with the same capex, but may generate new opex. So, it's important to see the absolute growth of our EBITDA and we're going to be explaining to you quarter by quarter, if there is any change in any model for our deployment. So, that's mainly what we have for costs.

David will have a different question -- ask David to help or if it's already answered.

Mathieu Robilliard -- Barclays -- Analyst

No, it's great. Just, if I could follow-up on B2B, do you think you're gaining market share in that segment? Or is it the market that is very dynamic? Or is it a mix of the two?

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

I think the market is growing in total markets, because I think companies are recovered for very difficult years with a very economic downturn and this segment was highly impacted. But I do believe we are gaining market share in all lines of B2B.

Mathieu Robilliard -- Barclays -- Analyst

Thank you very much.

Operator

[Operator Instructions]Next question comes from Maria Tereza Azevedo, Banco Santander.

Maria Tereza Azevedo -- Banco Santander -- Analyst

Hi. Thanks for the follow-up. So, just one other point, that is, we would like to hear your views on the financial services advertising and other value-added services that you can use in order to monetize your user base. Is there anything you can share about the Vivo Money initiative? Thank you very much.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Maria Tereza, this is Christian again. Yes, we are looking different areas of monetizing data and also much more than monetizing data to create a hub of digital service distribution. We are doing both in B2C and B2B. We really see ourselves as a hub of digital service distribution. As I said in the beginning of the presentation today, and part of our company's purpose, and we're going to do partnerships with different kind of verticals. So, we are doing entertainment, we are doing education, and we are going to do also financial services, as you mentioned here.

So, Vivo Money, we started with a pilot, we are still piloting to understand better off this market. But we are very confident with the results that we got so far. And we may launch, it in the second semester of this year, definitive model for Vivo Money. So again, here we will be lending money to our customers, focusing on customers that don't have access or other types of financing in banks, because maybe they don't have a bank account, but they can be our hybrid or prepaid customer.

So, confident with the results of the pilot. Not launching anything officially this quarter, but planning to the second semester to have an official Vivo Money working with all the model and all the customer approach that we are planning to do with the service. Not only money, but we also have other initiatives that we may launch in the next quarters, in other verticals, in other areas. So, we're also launching Vivo Car, that is our way to automate and to digitalize cars. And there is a series of new initiatives that we are putting in place. Advertising is also one. We keep growing with this, with Vivo Advertising and that's different area, but also an important one for our distribution leverage, always in our brand, customer base, channel, and also in our billing capability for some services that require a bill that we can offer to our partner. So, that's basically the answer. If u have any additional question?

Maria Tereza Azevedo -- Banco Santander -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you very much.

Operator

This concludes the question-and-answer section. At this time, I would like to turn the floor back to Mr. Christian Gebara for any closing remarks. You may proceed, please.

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

Okay. So, thank you all for following the call. We are open for further questions, with our teams here in Vivo, and hopefully we're going to meet in any outside meeting or in the next call that we may have in April for first quarter. So, thank you very much to everyone.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 51 minutes

Call participants:

Luis Plaster -- Investor Relations Director

Christian Mauad Gebara -- Chief Executive Officer

David Melcon Sanchez-Friera -- Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer

Maria Tereza Azevedo -- Banco Santander -- Analyst

Rodrigo Villanueva -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Diego Aragao -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Tito Ferraz -- Itau -- Analyst

Marcelo Santos -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Mathieu Robilliard -- Barclays -- Analyst

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