26/01/2005

Vodafone subscribers top 150m worldwide

The Vodafone group have reported a huge increase in subscribers to their mobile phone network, in the company's latest trading figures.

The company reported that it signed up 5.4 million subscribers over the three-month period up to the end of December, bringing their total number of customers worldwide to 151.8 million.

The company also reported that the quarter was the highest ever for the new Vodafone live! Service, with 3.9 million new customers subscribing, bringing the global total up to 28.3 million.

Vodafone also reported that they had successfully launched Vodafone live! with 3G across 13 markets and had also repurchased 2.4 billion shares at a cost of £3.2 billion.

However, the company reported a fall in the blended annual average revenue per user (ARPU) in the UK, Germany and Japan. Vodafone attributed this to a number of factors, including lower spending new customers, increasing market penetration and increasingly competitive environments.

The Japanese market proved most difficult for Vodafone, according to the report. Only 36,000 new subscribers were acquired in the last quarter (compared to 641,000 in the UK and 843,000 in Germany) and service revenue was down 4% on the same quarter last year, due to the fall in ARPU. The company also reported that non-voice services, as a percentage of service revenue was at 21.4%, slightly lower than figures from December 2003. This was attributed to an increase in competition. Vodafone said that it would be continuing to focus on creating a successful turnaround programme in Japan over the next year and into 2006.

Commenting on the latest figures, Vodafone Chief Executive, Arun Sarin, said: "I am very pleased to announce another impressive quarter for customer and revenue growth. We have seen consistently strong performances across Europe and in the US, whilst we continue to focus on our turnaround programme in Japan."

(KMcA/SP)

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