Vodafone Has 7m UK 4G Customers As Network Investments ‘Pay Off’

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 £19bn network investment and European recovery are paying dividends as wider group revenues rise for first time since 2008

Vodafone now has 7 million 4G customers in the UK and is claiming 91 percent national coverage as service revenues across all of its markets rose for the first time in eight years.

The Newbury-based operator recorded overall revenues of £40.1 billion for its 2016 financial year, an ‘organic’ increase of 2.3 percent, while group service revenues jumped by 1.5 percent by the same metric.

The increase has been attributed to an improved performance in Europe, the enterprise market, and improvements to its network with the successful completion of its £19 billion ‘Project Spring’ investment programme.

Network enhancements

Vodafone LeedsHowever service revenues in the UK fell 0.3 percent to £5.8 billion with gains in consumer and business fixed offset by a slowdown in mobile revenues, which fell by 0.7 percent. Part of this is explained by increased customer churn, something Vodafone has blamed on the migration to a new billing system.

Ofcom received 32 complaints per 100,000 customers in the months between October and December 2015 as a result of the issues caused by this transition.

“This has been a year of strong execution for the Group, returning to organic growth … for the first time since 2008,” said Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao. “We have now successfully concluded our Project Spring organic investment programme. This has transformed the quality of our technology, enhancing our customers’ experience and enabling us to expand our Enterprise services.”

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Enterprise boost

Across all territories, Vodafone as 46.8 million 4G customers (27 percent of all its mobile users), 97 percent 4G coverage across Europe, and its fibre footprint reaches 72 million homes – 30 million of which are on its own networks. In total, it has 13.4 million broadband customers, a figure which includes 1.3 million added in the past 12 months.

Enterprise revenues now account for 27.7 percent of earnings, and 32.7 percent in Europe. Vodafone says the transition from traditional voice and data services to ‘total communications’ comprising the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services will continue to be a lucrative one.

Total IoT connections rose by 37 percent to 38 million as revenue jumped 29 percent. Vodafone Global Enterprise income increased by 5.9 percent as multinational companies looked to a single provider for cross-border communications.

“Looking forward, we will continue to invest in our customer excellence programmes in both mobile and converged services,” added Colao. “I am confident we will sustain our positive momentum in the coming year.”

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