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Vodafone’s UK Struggles Continue Despite Broadband Growth

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Vodafone makes broadband gains but UK revenues fall again

Vodafone’s UK struggles continued with a 4.8 percent fall in UK revenues over the past three months but it reported strong gains in broadband and is adamant that its mobile business is growing.

The operator added 39,000 broadband customers during the third quarter – it’s best ever figure –and now has 316,000 fixed customers. However enterprise revenues continued to fall in both mobile and fixed.

Indeed, total  mobile service revenue fell by 5.2 percent, a drop that Vodafone blamed on an impact from handset financing. Without this, it said, growth would have been 1.6 percent thanks to higher value customers. SIM only contracts now accounts for 30 percent of its UK customer base.

Vodafone results

Across all of its markets, revenue fell 3.6 percent to €11.8 billion but the company boasted of good progress in in mobile data – the volume of which increased by 59 percent across Europe – fixed and converged networks, and enterprise.

“Data usage continues to grow strongly, and we have now passed the 100 million 4G customer milestone,” said Group CEO Vittorio Colao. “We made strong progress with our fixed and convergence strategy, achieving our best ever quarter for customer growth in high speed broadband in Europe. We also continued to grow our Enterprise business – boosted by our world-leading Internet of Things platform – despite the impact of regulation.

“As a result our service revenue growth was similar to last quarter. An improved performance at Vodacom helped to offset a more promotional quarter in some European countries, particularly in Spain.”

Overall, the mood in Newbury is more positive than it has been in recent times. For the past few years, Vodafone has struggled in its traditional strongholds of Europe as intense competition, difficult regulatory environments and falling legacy revenue have contributed to disappointing performance. 

But the multi-billion pound ‘Project Spring’ network upgrade programme, huge investments in fixed line broadband and a focus on IoT have helped turn things round.  

The UK remains a challenging market however, although Vodafone does have plans to deliver ultrafast broadband through a partnership with CityFibre.

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