Vodafone beats expectations

Steve Dinneen
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SMARTPHONE sales helped push Vodafone’s fourth-quarter ahead of expectations yesterday, with total revenues jumping 3.5 per cent to £11.89bn.

Revenue in the UK grew seven per cent to £1.26bn, its highest since the second quarter of 2007.

The growth was fuelled by an explosion in smartphone uptake, with 49 per cent of contract customers now using next generation handsets, compared to 43 per cent across the whole of Europe. Vodafone UK added 195,000 new customers in the quarter, with 70 per cent adopting smartphones. Data usage was up 27 per cent.

Customer growth in India also grew, deflecting attention from the firm’s continuing legal troubles there. Service revenue at the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific division was up 9.3 per cent on an organic basis, while European service revenue was up 0.2 per cent.

The improved outlook followed solid trading in the third-quarter, with strong growth in India and Turkey and improvements in the UK, Germany and South Africa. Trading stabilised in Italy but remained challenging in Spain, where Vodafone has been hurt by the economic downturn and the loss of migrant construction workers.

Vodafone said yesterday the Egyptian government had forced it to withdraw network services for 24 hours and confirmed it had evacuated UK staff and their families from the crisis-hit country.