Vodafone tightens grip on mobile market

16 Nov 2004

Vodafone cemented its position as Ireland’s biggest mobile network by adding 87,000 customers in the 12 months to 30 September 2004. The company now has 1,890,000 subscribers in the Irish market. It acquired 8,500 new customers (4,100 contract and 4,400 prepaid) during the last quarter.

Blended average revenue per user (ARPU) on a 12-month rolling basis continued to climb, to €596 from €576 in September 2003. Contract customer ARPU increased to €1,170, from €1,109, and prepaid ARPU rose from €354 to €366 over the same period. Turnover increased by 11pc when compared with the first half of the last financial year, and operating profit before goodwill amortisation increased by 13pc. This rise is over and above the increase in turnover and reflects a continued focus on improving operating efficiency.

Ireland has the highest levels of outgoing voice usage per customers in the Group’s controlled mobile businesses. In addition, at 20.4pc of its total service revenues, Vodafone Ireland’s data usage represents one of the strongest performances in the Group. The firm reported strong sales and usage of Vodafone’s Mobile Connect Card (3G and GPRS) and said that the Vodafone live! customer base had topped 400,000.

Commenting on Vodafone Ireland’s performance, Gerry Fahy, strategy director, Vodafone Ireland, said: “The figures announced today reinforce Vodafone’s successful positioning in the Irish marketplace in an increasingly competitive environment. Keen growth in customer numbers, an increase in blended ARPU and operating efficiency gains, have all contributed to revenue increases and profit improvement.

“In the period from April to end-September, we were the first Irish operator to offer 3G commercial services, with the launch of the 3G Mobile Connect Card. The 3G journey continues with our announcement last week of the availability of a suite of new exciting consumer services powered by our 3G network. Our commitment to 3G is evidenced by our aggressive network rollout, now covering 62pc of the population.”

The strong results in Ireland were replicated at international level where revenue grew by 6pc to £16.8bn sterling during the six months ending 30 September 2004 and operating profit before goodwill amortisation and exceptional items rose 5pc to of £5.7bn sterling. The company reported strong growth in the UK, Spain and Germany, as well as at Verizon Wireless, its associate business in the US, although Japanese performance was weaker.

Talking up the prospects for 3G services chief executive Arun Sarin said: “We expect 3G to deliver a material benefit to our business over time and are targeting more than 10 million Vodafone live! with 3G customers in our controlled operations by the end of March 2006.”

By Brian Skelly