Vodafone boosted by 34,000 new subscribers in Ireland
Mobile firm cements place as country's biggest as customer base hits 2.2 million
Vodafone Ireland added 34,000 subscribers in the quarter to the end of December to bring its total mobile customer base to more than 2.2 million, confirming its position as the country's biggest mobile operator.
The company's total subscriber base here, including fixed-line customers, is 2.4 million.
Despite the rise in subscriber numbers, the average monthly blended revenue per user continued to decline by 6.9pc to €34.90 as the company -- in line with competitors -- was forced to squeeze its margins to retain cash-strapped consumers.
Vodafone Ireland said yesterday that almost half of all the devices it sold in December were smartphones, while there had also been a strong take-up of mobile broadband products during the period.
The company also launched a new consumer product yesterday -- SureSignal -- a device that it said would boost indoor 3G signals for subscribers with weaker reception.
The Irish figures were revealed as the Vodafone group, which is the world's largest mobile phone operator, predicted that full-year profits will be at the upper end of previous forecasts of between £11.8bn (€13.9bn) and £12.2bn.
Total revenue in the quarter climbed 3pc year-on-year to £11.9bn, while on an organic level it rose 3.5pc. Service revenue was 2.1pc higher at just under £11bn -- higher than had been anticipated by analysts.
In Europe, Vodafone reported a 3.5pc revenue decline to £7.6bn although service revenue was up slightly, while free cash flow plummeted 40pc to £1.08bn due to working capital requirements.
"This is the fifth successive quarter of service revenue growth improvement, with strong results from India, Turkey, the UK and Vodacom (in South Africa)," said Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao.
"Our performance has been driven by the effective execution of our strategy to strengthen our businesses and deliver growth, particularly in data services and emerging markets."
Vodafone, which yesterday announced that outgoing Philips chief executive Gerard Kleisterlee will be appointed chairman in July, is increasingly focusing on accelerating revenue growth from data services and wants to achieve a goal of deriving 70pc of its revenue in Europe from data by 2013. That compares to 30pc last year.
Shares in the group closed at 177p, down 1p, or 0.06pc.