Vodafone Ireland sees surge in smartphone users
Company increases number of contract customers as new price plans lure subscribers
Vodafone Group said it was confident its revenue would start to improve due to the take up of faster 4G services and cost cuts. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Vodafone Ireland said its contract mobile customer base rose by more than 12 per cent and the number of smartphone users on its network continued to rise in the last quarter.
The company said it gained more than 36,100 new customers in the quarter, driven mainly by its new Red price plans.
Average blended monthly revenue per user fell by almost 1 per cent compared with the previous quarter to €28.
Vodafone Ireland, which now has 2.15 million mobile customers and a total customer base of 2.4 million, said mobile internet usage was rising strongly, with a 75 per cent increase in customers using the services during the quarter.
Vodafone recently rolled its 4G network to six cities and 31 towns across the country, with Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Kilkenny among the first to get the upgraded service.
Meanwhile, the Vodafone Group said it was confident its revenue would start to improve due to the take up of faster 4G services and cost cuts, after reporting another sharp fall in quarterly organic service revenue.
The world’s second largest mobile operator, which is investing to improve the speed and coverage of its networks after selling its US arm in a $130 billion deal, said organic service revenue was down 4.8 per cent in the three months to the end of December. It fell by 4.9 per cent in the previous quarter.
The group, Britain’s third largest company, has reported sharp falls in its key revenue measurement in the last 18 months due to regulatory-imposed price cuts, fierce competition and European consumers reducing the number of calls they make during the downturn.
Today’s trading update showed organic service revenue down 9.6 per cent in Europe and up 5.5 per cent in its faster growing emerging market division of Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.
“In Europe, conditions are still difficult, and we continue to mitigate these challenges through on-going improvements to our operating model and cost efficiency,” chief executive Vittorio Colao said.
“In addition, the shift to 4G is gaining momentum and we have seen improving mobile customer net addition trends. We are therefore optimistic that our revenue performance will begin to improve as regulatory headwinds ease and customer appetite for video and content services increases.”
Vodafone described the pressures in Europe, where it competes with the likes of Telefonica, Orange and Deutsche Telekom, as intense.
Organic service revenue in Germany, its biggest market in Europe, was down 7.9 per cent, although increased investment in the quarter did result in improved customer additions, it said.
Britain declined by 5.1 per cent while Italy was down 16.6 per cent. (Additional reporting: Reuters)