Vodafone claims its £19 billion Project Spring investment programme is paying dividends as it stabilises in Europe
Vodafone appears to be reaping the benefits of its £19bn Project Spring investment plan as the operator reported a 10.1 percent increase in annual revenues to £42.2bn and a 9.4 percent jump in service revenue to £38.5bn.
UK revenues fell by 1.2 percent as a 0.5 percent rise in mobile sales was offset by a 5.8 percent fall in fixed income, but the company was pleased to return to growth during the second half of the year.
The firm now has 3 million LTE users in the UK and its 4G network covers 63 percent of the population. This is up from 2.2 million in the previous quarter, with Vodafone citing bundled content, such as Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile TV, as reasons for the increase.
Overall, the company has 19.85 million British mobile customers and 64 million fixed line customers. Vodafone’s fixed income comes solely from businesses at present, but it does have plans to launch a consumer broadband and television service in the near future.
Return to growth
Across all territories, the mobile component of Project Spring is apparently 63 percent completed, and the company now has 20.2 million 4G customers across its European markets, covering 72 percent of the population.
This is up from 13.7 million and 65 percent in the previous quarter, and data use has increased 80 percent year-on year. With just 13 percent of its European base currently using LTE, the Newbury-based operator says there is significant room for growth.
The company attributed investments and acquisitions in fixed line broadband, unified communications and M2M as other reasons for the improvement in performance. After a difficult series of quarters in Europe, CEO Vittorio Colao said many markets had stabilised, while emerging markets continued to grow.
“Our Project Spring investment programme is on plan, delivering a significantly improved experience to customers,” he said. “In Europe, 4G coverage now extends to over 70 percent of our footprint, and voice quality and reliability have improved noticeably.
“We have significant opportunities ahead of us, with only 13 percent of our European mobile customers using 4G, and our market share in fixed services only a fraction of our share in mobile. In addition, businesses around the world are increasingly looking to put mobility at the centre of their own strategies. With the assets and skills we have today, further enhanced by the completion of Project Spring, we will be strongly positioned to provide ever improving services to customers and seize these opportunities.”