Vodafone's monthly revenue falls despite subscriber boost
VODAFONE Ireland has seen its average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) slip below that of its largest rival, O2, even as it added more subscribers during the first three months of this year.
As its parent firm released a strong set of annual results yesterday with a near tripling of net profit to £8.6bn (€9.6bn) for the 12 months to the end of March, Vodafone Ireland said that ARPU fell 7.7pc to €36.10 at the end of the period. That's below the €37.37 reported by O2 Ireland last week.
O2 Ireland's ARPU had declined 5pc year-on-year in the first quarter of this year.
Vodafone noted that service revenue in Ireland declined due to a combination of recessionary and competitive factors.
It added 14,000 net new customers to bring its customer base to 2.33 million here at the end of March.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at Vodafone Ireland also fell in the first quarter of the year, but the company did not divulge the actual figure. The group statement noted that of the countries lumped into its 'other' European regions, which includes Ireland, only its operations in the Netherlands recorded a rise in service revenues.
Additionally, its businesses in the Netherlands and Portugal reported a rise in EBITDA. Overall EBITDA in the 'other' region fell 10.2pc in the period.
Gerry Fahy, strategy director with Vodafone Ireland, said that the company had delivered price reductions of approximately 21pc over the past year, while customers also sent 22pc more text messages in the last quarter compared to a year ago.
Vodafone Ireland recorded almost a 5pc decline in turnover to €1.19bn in the year to the end of March 2009, while operating profit fell 24pc to €205.2m.
On a group basis, Vodafone reported an 8.4pc jump in revenue to £44.5bn (€49.8bn) for the last financial year, while its revenue from data services rose to over £4bn (€4.5bn) for the first time. Group EBITDA climbed 1.7pc to £14.7bn (€16.4bn). Chief executive Vittorio Colao said the results had exceeded the firm's previously upgraded guidance "on all measures".
He added that overall revenue trends improved in the last quarter, driven by growth in mobile data and fixed broadband services.
A major cost-cutting plan implemented by Mr Colao also helped to deliver improved figures. The company is also boosting its dividend payment over the next three years. Shares in Vodafone closed flat at £1.37 yesterday.