More Vodafone customers switching to smartphones

The number of customers using smartphones on the Vodafone Ireland network has increased by 6.7% in the quarter ended September 30, 2012, it announced today.

There are now 877,600 Vodafone customers using smartphones, representing 43.4% of the total mobile customer base.

The company had 2.2 million mobile customers at the end of the quarter.

Average revenue per user remaining static during the period.

At September 30, Vodafone Ireland’s contract base stood at 760,600, representing slight growth of 1.1% on the previous quarter.

Vodafone’s fixed line voice and broadband subscribers remained unchanged at 242,000 at the end of the quarter.

Vodafone Ireland completed the acquisition of Complete Telecom in the quarter.

The company began offering enterprise managed data network solutions following its acquisition of Interfusion in 2011 where it has since experienced a 30% increase in revenues.

Internationally, Vodafone slumped to a half-year loss today as it counted the cost of economic woes in Italy and Spain.

As well as writing down the value of its operations in the two struggling countries by nearly €7.5bn, the firm was impacted by the competitive UK market as rivals fight for business with new unlimited tariffs.

Revenues in the UK were down by 2.1% and underlying profits fell by nearly a third as the higher cost of retaining smartphone customers also hit home.

Across the group, half-year revenues were down 7.9% - driven by an 18% slump in southern Europe - and bottom-line losses were £492m (€614.7m) against pre-tax profits of £8bn (€10bn) a year earlier.

Shares were 3% lower today, despite the company announcing a £2.4bn (€3bn) dividend from US joint venture Verizon Wireless, of which £1.5bn (€1.87bn) will be returned to shareholders.

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: "The wider market has held concerns over southern Europe for some time now, and these numbers from Vodafone are uncomfortable proof that the financial fears are well-founded."

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