Dear shareholders of Telefónica Deutschland, Dear Sir or Madam,
Mobile communications changed and shaped the lives of our customers even more in 2018 than ever before. This also applies to us as a company. We have now largely completed the integration of Telefónica Deutschland and E-Plus and are planning to achieve the targeted synergies as planned: more than 90 percent of the total savings of EUR 900 million in operating cash flow was already realized by the end of 2018. At our first Capital Markets Day in February 2018, we already set the course for the coming years. Our “Digital4Growth” transformation programme has a clear focus on the customer experience in the digital age.
However, we are aware that we have demanded a great deal of stamina from our customers again this year. The positive results of the network tests conducted by the Computer Bild, CHIP and connect trade journals clearly demonstrate the success of our enormous efforts in network consolidation. The stable churn rate of 17.3 percent in O2 post paid private customer business also shows that we are on the right track. We are proud of the progress and success we have achieved in 2018 with our network expansion measures and our mandate for 2019 is clear: we will press ahead intensively with the expansion of our network and thus further improve our customers’ user experience. We will invest even more extensively than before in network optimisation, including comprehensive LTE expansion and improved network coverage along key transport infrastructures such as motorways and ICE lines. We are responding to the rapidly increasing data usage of our customers and making our network suitable for the future and the new 5G standard; to this end, we have concluded various partnerships for our network's fibre optic connection.
We want our customers to be able to enjoy mobile freedom in a wide variety of life situations, and we attach great importance to a good price-performance ratio and a positive customer experience. In various tests, our core brand O2 was able to score points with data-heavy rates and convincing service for private and business customers; proof of our continuous, innovative evolutions of our product range. With "O2 Free Boost", "O2 Free Connect" and "O2 Free Unlimited", we successfully meet the requirements of our customers.
After giving the green light to the digital transformation of Telefónica Deutschland in February 2018, we will now focus fully on our “Digital4Growth” programme in 2019. We expect this to result in gross OIBDA growth of around EUR 600 million between 2019 and 2022. On the one hand, we want to participate in growth opportunities in our core business and, at the same time, address new business areas that arise, for example, from eSIM capability, Advanced Data Analytics (ADA) or the Internet of Things (IoT) and, on the other hand, achieve efficiency gains from the automation and digitalisation of processes. As a result, we will be “simpler, faster and better”, and our customers and shareholders will benefit from this.
Our employees have once again shown great commitment and made these successes possible; they are the foundation for Telefónica Deutschland's successful market position. We would therefore like to expressly thank all our employees for their outstanding performance and their willingness and openness in the integration process as well as for the forthcoming transformation of the company. We consider ourselves to be well-positioned to become the “Mobile Customer & Digital Champion” in the future.
Finally, we would like to thank our shareholders for the confidence they have put in our work. In 2018, we again increased our free cash flow and therefore intend to propose to the next annual general meeting in May 2019 a cash dividend of EUR 0.27 per share for the 2018 financial year. Thanks to a conservative financing profile supported by a solid free cash flow performance, we also want to offer them an attractive dividend yield.
The Management Board