Vodafone reports five-fold growth in pay-as-you-go data usage

8 Nov 2011

Vodafone’s Irish operations grew its customer base by 17,000 customers in its latest quarterly results, reaching 2.4m customers at the end of September. Vodafone Group grew revenues by 1.3pc and predicted full-year profits of up to stg£11.8bn.

Vodafone Group grew organic service revenues worldwide by 1.2pc, but these were down 1.2pc in Europe. Globally, data revenue was up 23.8pc with smartphone penetration in Europe rising to 21.7pc. It said 24pc of consumer contract customers in Europe are on integrated voice, SMS and data tariffs.

“A year on from announcing our updated strategy, we are making clear progress,” said Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao. “We are gaining share in most of our major markets, through our focus on superior network quality and an improved customer experience. In addition, we are achieving sustained growth in the key areas of data, emerging markets and enterprise.

“At the same time, we have delivered on our commitment to crystallise value from our non-controlled assets through a successful programme of disposals and the announcement of a dividend from Verizon Wireless, with the majority of proceeds pledged to shareholder returns,” Calao said.

Growth in mobile data usage

In Ireland, Vodafone said it witnessed a five-fold increase in pay-as-you-go data usage in the last 18 months due to a broad range of affordable smartphones in the market and a high quality, reliable network experience for data users.

The company said it was recently independently recertified as No 1 for mobile broadband by Surecom, as well as a smartphone certification of excellence for the performance of its devices.

During the quarter, Vodafone launched its 42Mbps Performance Pro broadband technology, making it the first operator in the market to enable HSPA+ dual carrier technology and quality of service, which is up to four times faster than standard mobile broadband connections.

Minutes of use per customer grew 0.6pc quarter-on-quarter to 268 minutes, compared to a European average of 179 minutes.

Despite recent growth in access to instant messaging and social networking platforms on smartphone devices, Vodafone Ireland customers continue to consume more voice minutes and send more texts than their European counterparts. Vodafone Ireland customers sent twice the European average of texts, with 220 messages sent per customer versus 111 in Europe.

A total of 1.46bn texts were sent by Vodafone Ireland customers in the quarter. ARPU decreased marginally to 32.60, down 0.9pc on the previous quarter, representing 15pc more value for customers year-on-year. 

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years