Solid growth for Vodafone Ireland as service revenue rises

Company reports increase in broadband, mobile customers

“It was a strong year of solid, stable growth for Vodafone Ireland, which saw us increase our customer-base across mobile and fixed broadband,” said Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

“It was a strong year of solid, stable growth for Vodafone Ireland, which saw us increase our customer-base across mobile and fixed broadband,” said Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

 

Vodafone Ireland put in a year of solid growth, increasing its customers in broadband and mobile as its parent group reported a rise in core earnings.

The Irish arm of the mobile network recorded service revenue of €838 million for its fiscal year 2020.

Vodafone said it increased its total fixed broadband customer base by 7 per cent to 284,000, while it added 46,000 mobile customers, a rise of 2.3 per cent.

Mobile data usage also increased significantly over the year, Vodafone said, with a 29.6 per cent increase year on year to more than 35.4 terabytes.

The company began switching on its 5G network in August last year, the first mobile operator in Ireland to do so. Five cities were included in the initial rollout: Cork, Limerick, Dublin, Galway and Waterford. The company has also linked up with the Assert Centre in University College Cork to create the world’s first 5G connected telemedicine and medical robotics training centre.

Vodafone’s Siro joint venture with the ESB has passed 345,000 premises in more than 40 towns across Ireland, with four new Vodafone/Siro Gigabit hubs opened to bring the total to 15.

“It was a strong year of solid, stable growth for Vodafone Ireland, which saw us increase our customer-base across mobile and fixed broadband. Our investment of over €1 billion in our network over the past decade has ensured that we are the market leading connectivity provider of choice for Ireland,” said Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland.

“As we build towards a digital society of the future, our focus continues to be on enhancing and expanding our award-winning mobile and gigabit broadband networks, ensuring high speed connectivity for consumers and businesses across the country.”

Meanwhile, the Vodafone group met expectations with a 2.6 per cent rise in full-year core earnings to €14.9 billion, but did not give a current year outlook due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

Global economy

“We are experiencing a direct impact on our roaming revenues from lower international travel and we also expect economic pressures to impact our customer revenues over time,” it said on Tuesday.

“However, we are also seeing significant increases in data volumes and further improvements in loyalty, as our customers place greater value on the quality, speed and reliability of our networks.”

The company said given the uncertainties and impacts of the global pandemic it was not able to provide adjusted core earnings guidance for the current year. But it said that based on assessment of the global economy, it could be flat to slightly down, compared to a rebased €14.5 billion for 2020. It did provide guidance for free cash flow before spectrum costs, which underpins its dividend, saying it would be at least €5 billion.

Vodafone chief executive Nick Read cut the company’s dividend a year ago, relieving immediate pressure on the group’s balance sheet. It maintained its full-year payout at nine cents a share. – Additional reporting: Reuters