VODAFONE’S Irish customers sent more than double the number of text messages than their European counterparts in the first three months of 2011.
Vodafone Ireland customers sent 221 messages texts per customer against a European average of 108.
This was an increase of 10.8% year-on-year, resulting in 5.6 billion texts being sent by Vodafone Ireland customers in the year.
However, at a group level Vodafone said its net profit fell by 8% in its last fiscal year as it booked a £6.1 billion impairment charge on operations in Ireland, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy.
The Irish charge is attributed to the external economic environment — macroeconomic issues that resulted in a rise in interest rates, causing impairment, the company said.
In Ireland, the average revenue per user fell 10.5% to €32.30 in the first quarter of the year, which the company said reflected the changes in consumer spending patterns over the year.
Smartphones made up around 54% of billpay devices sold on the network since December 2010.
The company said its mobile business performed well in Ireland in the 12 months to the end of March and saw a 3.2% increase in its customer base, despite the challenging operating environment.
The company had 2.2 million customers and, including its fixed line and DSL business, its total telecom base was 2.4 million by the end of March 2011.
Minutes of use per customer grew 1.8% year-on- year to 262 minutes, compared with a European average of 168 minutes.
Despite an increase in the range of communication options on mobile devices, such as instant messaging and social media chat services, the company said text messages remain a preferred option.
Over the last 12 months, Vodafone said it has delivered overall price reductions of 15% to customers and invested more than €60m in its network. It said investment will increase this year as it upgrades its entire national network.
Vodafone Ireland currently employs 1,200 staff at various locations across Ireland.
Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator by revenue, surprised investors with an upbeat outlook for 2012 after posting resilient results driven by customers upgrading to smartphones.
For the year ending 31 March, the mobile communications company reported a net profit of just under £8bn, down from £8.6bn in 2010. Revenue was up 3% to £45.9bn.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved