Vodafone boosts subscribers
Telecoms operator Vodafone increased its total subscriber base in the quarter to June 30th, and data usage continued to drive growth at the firm.
The rise brings then number of customers with Vodafone Ireland to 2.44 million, with 2.2 million mobile customers. Some 752,000 were contract customers, rising 3.7 per cent.
According to the network, the number of customers using smartphones has increased by 56 per cent year-on-year, reaching 823,000. More than half of the teleco’s customers use mobile internet, up 14 per cent year on year as customers log on through tablets, smartphones and notebooks.
The Irish subsidiary’s fixed line voice and broadband customer base was 9.3 per cent higher year on year, reaching 241,000 at the end of June.
Vodafone Ireland said average blended monthly ARPU rose by 1 per cent compared with the previous quarter, to €31.50.
On a group basis, Vodafone said service revenue trailed analysts' estimates as consumers and companies in Spain and Italy cut spending.
Excluding currency swings and acquisitions, revenue gained 0.6 per cent in the three months ended June 30th, but analysts had predicted growth of 0.8 per cent, according to the average of estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
Total sales fell 7.7 per cent to £10.77 billion, missing the £10.91 billion estimate.
Chief executive Vittorio Colao has agreed to merge phone networks with other operators to reduce spending on equipment as the company seeks to blunt the impact of an economic slowdown in Europe, its biggest market by revenue. That includes a recently announced deal with 3 Ireland that sees the rival networks share infrastructure at more than 2,000 sites around the country.
First-quarter service sales, which include voice, data, messaging and broadband services, dropped 7.7 per cent in Italy and 10 per cent in Spain.
"Looking out, it's difficult to be hugely optimistic about the near term changes in things," chief financial officer Andy Halford said on a conference call. "Clearly consumers and businesses remain nervous in many territories. Our sense is we should prepare the business for a few more quarters that are going to be reasonably tough."
First-quarter service sales grew by 16.2 per cent in India, 4.2 per cent in Germany and 8.2 per cent at Vodafone's US venture Verizon Wireless. Vodafone, which is no longer the world's biggest mobile- phone company after China Mobile boosted sales last year, is increasingly relying on the US to make up for shrinking sales in crisis-stricken European economies.
The company is also waiting for news about a potential dividend from Verizon Wireless. The largest US mobile-phone operator, 55 per cent controlled by Verizon Communications last year paid Vodafone a $4.5 billion dividend.
Verizon Communications yesterday reported a 19 per cent gain in profit as the shift to smartphones has helped boost the size of subscribers' phone bills. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said that the dividend issue is not on the agenda for Verizon Wireless's board meeting next week, though a decision isn't required until year-end.
Additional reporting: Bloomberg