Vodafone grew its Irish customer base by 34,000 in the three months to 31 December 2005, the company revealed this morning. Over the course of last year the mobile operator grew this figure by 118,000, doubling the growth of its customer base compared to the previous 12 months.
Ireland’s largest mobile operator now has 2.047m customers. Of the net new customers added in the fourth quarter, 30,000 were prepaid and 4,000 postpaid.
In revealing its key performance indicators, the company said that minutes of use per customer per month rose to 215 in the final quarter of the year, up from 210 from the same period in 2004. Total minutes recorded on the Vodafone Ireland network increased by 9pc to 1.3 billion, up from 1.19 billion.
Vodafone’s blended monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) was €50.20 in the quarter, down slightly from €50.70 for the same three months in 2004. The company claimed that the increased use of its network, allied to the marginal decrease in revenue meant that customers were getting better value from their mobiles.
The figures tally closely with those of O2, Vodafone’s closest competitor in Ireland. O2’s monthly ARPU was €47.66 and it added just 2,000 customers less than its rival for the final quarter of 2005.
Vodafone also launched a new business product, a 3G/UMTS router that provides high-speed mobile data connectivity for teams working on the move. This lets groups of up to five people work in a wireless LAN environment, similar to a hotspot. This saves having to connect cables from every computer to the router and it means that every laptop user doesn’t have to use a data card. The onward connection is provided through Vodafone’s 3G network.
The service is aimed at teams that are formed temporarily for specific projects such as working on new infrastructure developments. It is thought that business services, construction, civil engineering and events and training sectors will be among those likely to use the product.
Gerry Fahy, strategy director with Vodafone Ireland said that the company was investing to the order of more than €3m million per week in its network.
By Gordon Smith