Vodafone returns to quarterly revenue growth

A minute rise in quarterly sales gives mobile network operator Vodafone hope that its financial situation is now stabilising

Vodafone has posted a tiny, 0.1% rise in quarterly revenues in the final period of its fiscal year, marking its first sales growth in 10 quarters and raising hopes that its financial situation is now stabilising.

The mobile network operator has been battered over the past three years by slower consumer spending and regulatory pressure.

Over the full year to 31 March 2015, Vodafone made group revenues of £42.23bn, up by 10.1% on a reported basis but flat organically, and group services revenues of £38.50bn, up by 9.4% reported but down by 1.6% organically.

Vodafone reported full-year earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of £11.92bn, up by 7.5% on a reported basis but down by 6.9% organically.

In his statement to the markets, chief executive Vittorio Colao said he saw increasing signs of stabilisation in many European markets, which was precipitated by two factors: improving commercial execution on Vodafone’s part and sky-rocketing demand for data from its customers.

Spring has sprung

Vodafone now claims to have completed 63% of the mobile network element of its network investment programme Project Spring, with 4G coverage extending to 72% of its target area in Europe.

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It can now boast of 20.2 million 4G customers across the group, an area where there is room for improvement, said Colao

“We have significant opportunities ahead of us, with only 13% of our European mobile customers using 4G, and our marketshare in fixed services only a fraction of our share in mobile,” he said.

Project Spring also includes a substantial tranche of investment in mobile enterprise services, around areas such as cloud hosting, machine-to-machine communications and the internet of things, all identified as growth areas for Vodafone.

The operator said half of all proposal requests to Vodafone Global Enterprise were now requesting converged systems, and its cloud-based integrated fixed-mobile service, Vodafone One Net, saw its user base expand by 13% in the financial year.

Vodafone anticipates that 2016 will be a key year in terms of how it executes its business, as the Project Spring build nears completion and it completes a number of integrations.

It said it expected that by May 2016, the completion of Project Spring and a more consistent customer service experience should be reflected in stronger customer satisfaction and lower churn, which will in turn spur on growth in data usage and stabilise per-user revenues.

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