Data use soars 61% on Vodafone’s Irish network

The company’s mobile customer numbers have risen by 0.6% year on year

Vodafone said users of its unlimited mobile data service totalled more than 40,000 terabytes. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

Vodafone said users of its unlimited mobile data service totalled more than 40,000 terabytes. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

 

Mobile data use on Vodafone Ireland’s network soared in the third quarter of its financial year, with the company recording a 61 per cent rise year on year.

The company said users of its unlimited mobile data service totalled more than 40,000 terabytes.

Service revenue fell by 2.2 per cent, although it had recovered from a 6.1 per cent year on year decline in the second quarter of the year. Vodafone said the improvement was driven by a good performance in its consumer business.

Mobile customer numbers rose 0.6 per cent year on year, while its total fixed broadband customer base increased 5.4 per cent, reaching 295,000.

“It continues to be a very challenging time for businesses right across Ireland owing to the impact of Covid-19. The restricted movement of people is having a significant impact on our own revenue. However, those aside, we have seen quarter-on-quarter growth that has been driven, in part by our consumer business,” said Vodafone Ireland chief executive Anne O’Leary.

“In addition, our continued focus on innovation and investment in Vodafone’s product offering has resulted in positive year on year growth across our mobile base, and follows our successful launch of Ireland’s first Open Radio Access Network in December – a pivotal moment in the provision of 4G mobile coverage to rural communities in Ireland.”

On a group basis, Vodafone’s sales rose unexpectedly for the first time since March after German consumers stuck at home during the pandemic spent more money on mobile and broadband services.

The mobile carrier said third-quarter organic service revenue rose 0.4 per cent, compared to the 0.2 per cent decline expected by analysts. It stuck to its guidance for full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of between €14.4 billion and €14.6 billion.

Cable customers in Germany upgraded to costlier plans during the quarter, helping to vindicate chief executive Nick Read’s purchase of Liberty Global’s German fixed business Unitymedia.

Pandemic hit

The sales gain follows two quarters of declines, which Vodafone blamed mainly on the pandemic. Revenue had grown in the last full year thanks partly to cost savings and efforts to keep customers loyal.

The centrepiece of Read’s strategy to streamline Vodafone, cut costs and pay down debt was the initial public offering of its mast business, Vantage Towers. It’s expected in the coming months and could be one of the biggest European IPOs of 2021.

“We have made further progress on our strategic priorities, including the IPO of Vantage Towers in early 2021, which remains firmly on track and will now include our 50 per cent shareholding in the UK towers joint venture with Telefonica, ” Read said on Wednesday.

Vodafone’s shares have fallen 16 per cent in the past 12 months to Wednesday, versus a 13 per cent fall in the Stoxx Europe 600 Telecommunications Index.

– Additional reporting: Bloomberg