Irish 3G sales solid, Vodafone reports

25 Jul 2005

Vodafone’s Irish subscriber numbers edged closer to the two million mark during the last quarter, with the addition of 29,000 new customers bringing the total to 1,981,000. In addition, one third of new handset sales are for 3G-enabled phones.

The mobile operator issued its key performance indicators earlier today for the three months to 30 June. Of the 29,000 new customers added during April, May and June, 26,000 were prepay users and 3,000 were postpaid customers.

As well as increasing its subscriber base, the company also saw a rise in average revenue per user (ARPU) to €609 from €591 over the past 12 months. Contract customer ARPU was up to €1,199 from €1,150 and prepaid customer ARPU rose to €379 from €364 over the same period.

By contrast, ARPU in Germany was €295 and in Spain it was €421. In the UK it was £300 sterling (€432), a drop from June 2004 levels and ARPU also decreased for Vodafone’s Japan operation.

According to Vodafone, Irish customers’ monthly minutes of usage rose by 6pc since June 2004, whereas corresponding revenue increased by 3pc. Irish customers still show the highest level of voice usage per customer in the entire Vodafone Group’s controlled mobile businesses, the company claimed.

Gerry Fahy, strategy director with Vodafone Ireland, said the company was satisfied with the quarterly performance given the competitive nature of the market. “While we anticipate a further intensification of competition we do expect continued growth in the take-up of new products and services as the penetration of our 3G service increases,” he said.

Fahy added that the performance of Vodafone’s 3G services to date has been “very positive” and that the internal targets set by the company had been exceeded. “In the month of June alone, more than one third of our new sales were of 3G handsets,” he said.

Throughout the Vodafone Group as a whole, 3G appears to be taking off, with a further 1.1 million registered 3G devices recorded during the quarter. This number includes one million consumer 3G devices, bringing the total so far to 3.3 million, of which 2.9 million are consumer 3G devices.

The operator recorded year-on-year growth of 8.6pc in proportionate mobile revenues and added more than 4.1 million customers; 35pc higher than for the same period last year.

By Gordon Smith