Vodafone Ireland ended 2013 on a high note, retaining its position as Ireland’s top telecommuncations provider with a total customer base of 2.4m, attributed to the company’s continued investment in network enhancement.
Vodafone Ireland’s Interim Management Statement for the quarter ended 31 December 2013 also positions the operator as the mobile market leader in Ireland with 2.15m mobile customers.
More than 75pc of all Vodafone Ireland customers are now using mobile internet services, up 11.7pc from the previous quarter, and nearly 60pc of its customers are now using smartphones, a quarter-on-quarter increase of 6.7pc.
Following Vodafone’s continued investment in its mobile network in Ireland – which included introducing data everywhere there are voice services and switching on 4G services in selected towns and cities – mobile data usage saw a quarterly increase of 12.7pc, up 42pc year-on-year.
Overall, Vodafone Ireland’s contract base grew by 12.6pc year-on-year, with 36,100 new customers signing up in the most recent quarter alone. An exclusive partnership with Spotify in the Irish market may have been a contributing factor to this growth, but it has largely been attributed to the launch of its Red price plans.
As far as Vodafone Group goes, the company’s target to attract 11m-12m customers to its Red packages by March of this year seems to be on track, with a total of 9.8m signed up so far. In Europe alone, there are about 2m 4G Red customers.
Vodafone’s 4G services are now available in 13 countries, with data usage double that of 3G plans.
“During the quarter we have made further progress in executing our long-term strategy. Project Spring, our stg£7bn organic investment programme, will accelerate our plans to establish stronger network and service differentiation for our customers, with the first elements of the programme already initiated,” said group chief executive Vittorio Colao in a statement.
“After the imminent completion of the Verizon Wireless transaction, we will be very attractively positioned, with a strong balance sheet, improved dividend cover and the financial and strategic flexibility to make further investments in the business or returns to shareholders in the future.”
Challenging European market
Vodafone Group’s organic service revenue declined by 4.8pc in the quarter despite growth in emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, largely due to a decline of 9.6pc in Europe.
Group revenue on a management basis for the quarter was stg£10.977m, while group service revenue was stg£9.856m (stg£6.523 in Europe). On a statutory basis, group revenue was stg£9.587m, while group service revenue was stg£8.712m.