Friday 23 August 2019

Vodafone arrests Irish mobile customer slide

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Vodafone has arrested a declining Irish mobile customer base and stabilised revenues, according to financial results published yesterday.

Despite losing 38,000 mobile customers here over the last 12 months, the company has added subscribers in successive quarters for the first time in two years. In the last six months, it added 9,000 customers in Ireland, the results show. The gains come after a period when it lost over 100,000 mobile subscribers here - mostly prepaid customers.

The operator, which remains Ireland's largest with 38.5pc of the market, also added a small number of landline customers.

A spokesman for the firm said that it had "improved [its] pay-as-you-go customer number trends during the period" and that it had "maintained its total base of 2.3 million customers".

Mobile and fixed service revenue for the company was €241m during the quarter, an annual rise of 2pc.

The news comes amid intensifying competition in the Irish mobile market, with two new operators launching here in the last three months. Virgin Mobile and iD, operated by the Carphone Warehouse, have entered into competition with Vodafone, Three and Meteor, with low-cost deals.

Vodafone, whose mobile packages are more expensive than average subscription deals, has adopted a strategy of outspending rivals on network infrastructure. The company said that it now has 95pc population coverage for its 4G network around Ireland. A recent survey by this newspaper showed that it tops speed tests on 4G services in the Dublin region.

The operator said that it has begun construction of its fibre broadband betwork, Siro, which is a €450m joint venture with the ESB. The rollout of the fibre network is underway in five locations: Cavan, Dundalk, Carrigaline, Sligo and Ratheniska. When live, it will offer speeds of 1,000Mbs.

It also launched a European sales hub in Carrickmines in Dublin, investing €60m and creating 200 permanent jobs.

"Our performance this quarter demonstrates improved momentum with increased service revenue and growth in customer numbers, particularly in our contract base," said Anne O'Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland.

"We are also encouraged by strong growth in our enterprise division with significant customer wins during the period."

Irish Independent

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