Vodafone loses 100,000 Irish customers as data caps bite
Vodafone has lost 101,000 mobile phone customers in the last 12 months, according to its latest financial report.
The figure, which represents 5pc of its mobile customer base, represents the operator's steepest fall here in recent years.
The company, which remains Ireland's largest mobile operator with 38pc of the market, also saw its quarterly service revenue fall by €18m in Ireland compared to 12 months ago. The quarterly revenue drop represents a 7pc annual decline to €245m in its Irish operation.
However, a company spokesman said the amount of revenue made from each customer has increased compared to three months previously, to €28.70.
He said that this is down to increased revenue earned from those using data services.
The operator has also increased its fixed line broadband customer base by 22,000 to 215,000 compared to the same time last year.
A spokesman for the company declined to speculate on the reason for the fall in mobile customers.
However, the operator says that data demand by its customers rose 65pc year on year, while its 4G network -- advertised as a video-consumption service - now covers 87pc of the population.
Vodafone's three largest rivals, 3 Ireland, Meteor and Tesco Mobile, offer 15GB of mobile data for under €50 per month.
An equivalent data allowance from Vodafone costs over €100 per month. Basic online services such as Facebook now stream video by default, making low monthly data packages less attractive to mainstream customers.
Meanwhile, Vodafone says that trials for a new €450m fibre broadband service in conjunction with the ESB are now completed. The company says that the trials, which occurred in Cavan, saw download speeds of 940Mbs.
However, it says that the new service will not now be available in early 2015 as originally planned. A spokesman said that it will not be available until late 2015 at the earliest. The full rollout of the service, which intends to reach 500,000 homes and businesses, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018
Vodafone says that it invested €2.5m investment in overhauling its retail stores around the country. The operator says that it now has a "total" customer base of 2.3 million in Ireland.