Friday 19 January 2018

Vodafone loss of almost 300,000 mobile customers 'due to industry shift to contract deals'

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Vodafone’s mobile customer slide in Ireland continues even as the company improves its profitability and margins.

Its latest financial results show that it has fallen below 2m mobile customers in Ireland. Five years ago, it had 2.24m mobile customers here, compared to 1.95m today.

The operator’s loss of almost 300,000 mobile customers in Ireland is explained by Vodafone as an “industry shift” from prepaid to contract deals.

However, recent figures from the telecoms regulator Comreg show that the overall number of mobile customers in Ireland has increased over the last five years.

Vodafone’s revenue decreased by €25m to €996m over the last year but its adjusted operating profit more than doubled, from €25m to €55m. It also increased it margins by 1.8pc.

The company now has 260,000 fixed broadband customers, most of which are on a telephone service using Eir landlines. The company declined to say how many television customers it has.

It has recently ‘passed’ 70,000 homes and businesses for a fibre-to-the-home broadband service in large regional towns. The service, rolled out by Vodafone and the ESB under the ‘Siro’ joint venture, aims to have 500,000 premises passed by the end of 2018.

However, Vodafone is currently considering whether or not to pull the pull the plug on Siro’s bid for the state-subsidised National Broadband Plan. It has already spent upwards of €2m on preparations for the national tender, due to be released later this year. However, it is unhappy at a recent deal between the government and Eir to reduce the number of homes and businesses that will be serviced under the rural broadband rollout.

The company also announced that over 1.2 m 4G-enabled devices are used on Vodafone Ireland’s network, a 42pc increase on the same period last year. Mobile data usage increased by 37pc year-on-year.

Vodafone Ireland announced in March 2017 that it is committing an additional €500m investment over the next three years as it looks to further improve services to customers. It is not clear, however, whether that includes investment in the Siro fibre broadband rollout.

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