Vodafone Group trumpeted another quarter of organic service revenue growth, although foreign exchange rates took their toll on its reported numbers.
“With 7 million new customers in the quarter, we have maintained our good commercial momentum in mobile and are beginning to accelerate in fixed, as we launch converged services in more markets,” Vittorio Colao, group chief executive, said.
“Customers are increasingly recognising the quality of our networks, leading to strong growth in data usage and benefiting from the significant investments in 4G and fibre that we have made over the last two years,” he continued.
For the quarter ended 31 December, group service revenue was £9.2 billion, up 1.4 per cent on an organic basis (the sixth consecutive quarter of improvement), but down 6.3 per cent on a reported basis.
Europe was the weaker of its regions, with service revenue of £6 billion down 0.6 per cent on an organic basis. While the company noted that this marked a continued recovery (Q2 shrinkage was 1 per cent), and mobile termination rate cuts also had an impact, it also pointed out continued growth in its contract customer base and a year-on-year reduction in contract churn.
Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific service revenue of £2.9 billion was up 6.5 per cent, which was attributed to “customer growth, with 6.3 million customers added in the quarter, and strong demand for voice and data services”.
On a reported basis, service revenue declined by 3.6 per cent, with a strong adverse impact from foreign exchange movements.
Vodacom in particular stood out, with a 7.2 per cent growth in organic revenue to £799 million, although this was down 10.3 per cent in reported terms.
With regard to the Project Spring network modernisation plan, the company said it is 92 per cent through its mobile build, with 4G coverage now at 84 per cent in Europe, and AMAP build targets achieved.
The group ended the period with 461 million mobile customers, of which 122.1 million were in Europe and 338.9 million in AMAP.
LTE subscribers stand at 34.8 million, adding 4.7 million in the quarter. Of these, 28.1 million and 3.8 million of the additions are from Europe.
Vodafone also said it is continuing to make progress “towards becoming a full service integrated operator”, for both consumers and businesses in its main markets.
It has 13 million broadband customers, with 414,000 additions in the quarter. Of these, 12 million are in Europe, where it also has 9.4 million TV customers, as it pushed services in markets such as Spain and Germany.