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Vodafone Has 6.8m 4G Users And 85 Percent Coverage

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 says it’s on the right track in Europe as £19bn investment programme boosts 4G capabilities

Vodafone’s UK 4G network now has 6.8 million subscribers and covers 85 percent of the UK population, however a fall in out-of-bundle revenue and a decline in mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) customers meant mobile income fell by two percent in the most recent quarter.

This fall was offset by a 0.2 percent increase in fixed line revenue however. Vodafone launched its consumer broadband service late last year and also benefited from stronger enterprise demand.

Overall, the company’s UK revenue reached £1.4 billion for the three months leading up to 31 December, an organic decline of 0.7 percent.

Read More: How Vodafone boosts London’s 4G

European recovery

Vodafone StoreHowever the Newbury-based operator is boasting of a continued recovery in Europe and growth in emerging markets, fuelled by its £19 billion ‘Project Spring’ investment programme, the mobile component of which is now 92 percent complete.

“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,” said Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao.

“Customers are increasingly recognising the quality of our networks, leading to stronger growth in data usage and benefiting from the significant investments in 4G and fibre that we have made over the last two years. We continue to face regulatory and competitive challenges in many markets, but we are confident that the business is well positioned for the growth opportunities ahead.

Underlying service revenues rose 1.4 percent to £9.2 billion, with just a 0.6 percent decline in Europe, which generated £6 billion of that total figure. European fixed line revenue rose 3.7 percent as Vodafone’s footprint reached 69 million premises, 29 million of which are on its own networks, and the firm has 13 million broadband subscribers.

4G growth

Project Spring has added 165,000 new mobile sites across all markets, modernised 102,000 more and extended high speed backhaul to another 91,000. European 4G coverage has reached 84 percent, up from 65 percent a year ago, and 90 percent of all data sessions achieve speeds of 3Mbps or more and just 5 percent of calls are dropped.

Mobile data traffic has risen 68 percent year-on-year across all countries and Vodafone has 34.8 million 4G customers worldwide – 4.7 million added in the last quarter. Indeed, LTE now accounts for 45 percent of all traffic on Vodafone’s European network and the average user consumes more than 1GB a month.

Enterprise income grew for the fourth consecutive quarter, this time by 2.6 percent, thanks to growing demand for Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE) cross-border services and a 27.3 percent rise in M2M service revenue.

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