Vodafone reported revenues of GBP 10.20 billion for its fiscal first quarter to June, up 6.2 percent from a year earlier thanks to acquisitions. On an organic basis, revenues were still down 4.4 percent, and service revenue fell 4.2 percent. Vodafone said it was seeing some signs of stabilisation in Europe.
Organic service revenue in Europe fell 7.9 percent from a year earlier, with the drop worsening to 15.3 percent in Spain on increased competition and hitting 16.1 percent in Italy. In the UK, the fall was just 3.2 percent, and Germany declined by 4.9 percent, less than the previous quarter. In the AMAP region, organic service revenue rose 4.7 percent, led by a 10.3 percent increase in India.
In line with its Project Spring investment programme, Vodafone reported an 83 percent increase in capital expenditure to GBP 1.87 billion in the quarter. This led to negative free cash flow of GBP 582 million. Vodafone said the 4G roll-out in Europe is helping to drive demand for data services. It increased 46 coverage to 52 percent of the population in the quarter, from 46 percent three months earlier, with 4,700 new 4G sites deployed. It’s also strengthening its 2G and 3G networks, with a further 2,400 sites added across Europe during the period.
Data traffic growth in Europe accelerated to 53 percent year-on-year in Q1 from 42 percent in the previous quarter. The operator said it’s focusing on network benefits and differentiation rather than price in marketing 4G. The Vodafone Red plans are also helping increase usage. These added another 2.3 million users in the quarter for a total 14.3 million.
That compares to a total 5.08 million net new customers added in the quarter, bringing Vodafone’s total mobile customer base to 430.83 million. The company also counted 9.43 million fixed broadband customers at the end of June, up from 9.24 million three months earlier.