Mobile phone operator CosmOTE yesterday announced better-than-expected subscriber growth in the third quarter of the year, as aggressive marketing helped it maintain its lead in the local mobile telephony market. The company said active subscribers in the third quarter of the year rose by 23 percent to 3.37 million, with gains coming principally from the pre-pay segment. It signed on 135,052 pre-pay subscribers which accounted for 86 percent of new users, and 22,110 contract users. CosmOTE claimed to have attracted the bulk of new net additions in the third quarter, making it the 12th consecutive quarter that it has outdone competitors. Constantinos Karitsos, telecoms analyst at Intersec Securities, said the higher-than-expected subscriber growth shows «CosmOTE is expanding faster than forecast.» He said the latest figures also showed that the mobile penetration rate in Greece has reached 80 percent, which could mean limited scope for further growth. CosmOTE said active contract customers increased by 6.9 percent to 1.53 million against a 40.6-percent rise in active pre-pay subscribers to 1.83 million. Based on third-quarter figures, pre-pay customers accounted for slightly more than half, or 54.4 percent, of its customer base. Albanian subsidiary AMC reported a 17.7-percent quarter-on-quarter jump in customers to 422,882, of which 96 percent are in the pre-pay segment. The company claims a market share exceeding 60 percent, nearly double that of rival Vodafone-Panafon, which launched operations in August last year. «These are good figures but we need to see profit figures. The company had significant foreign exchange losses this year,» said Theodore Ritsios of P&K Securities.