Smartphones help Vodafone double profits

Steve Dinneen
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VODAFONE yesterday said a surge in demand for smartphones helped it to more than double its full year profit.

This was despite growing despair over its key Indian unit, which was forced to take a £2.3bn impairment charge thanks to fierce competition and rapidly escalating spectrum costs.

Vodafone’s overall profit soared from £4.2bn to £8.7bn. The vast spike was largely down to £5.9bn in impairment charges the firm was forced to take the previous year.

The huge rise in data usage, fuelled by the popularity of products such as Apple’s iPhone and growing broadband subscriptions, means the firm now reaps more than a third of its revenue from non “mobile voice” services.

Revenue for the group rose 8.4 per cent to £44.5bn. However, in real terms it fell 2.3 per cent, after stripping away acquisitions and foreign exchange revenue.

Revenue in the UK was pulled down 4.7 per cent by rapidly falling voice income, which was not fully offset by rising data fees.

The firm announced it completed a £1bn savings programme a year ahead of schedule and will begin a second period of cuts this year.

The telecom giant also boosted its user base by 8.5m worldwide in the last three months, taking its total number of customers to 341m.

Its final dividend increased by nine per cent to 5.65p, taking the full-year payment to 8.31p.

The price war in India continues to be a major issue for Vodafone. The price of a 3G spectrum licence is now almost three times higher than analyst forecasts and a glut of new firms have driven prices down to rock bottom.

Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao welcomed the firm’s robust results, saying he was building a future at the telecoms giant.

Profit £8.7bn

Revenue £44.5bn

Customer base 341m