Vodafone grows UK customers but Germany hit by price rises

Vodafone has revealed an increase in UK sales after the group won more mobile and broadband customers, as it prepares to complete a merger with rival Three UK by the end of the year.

The global telecoms group is also seeking to strike a deal for its Italian division.

The company said UK service revenue increased by 5.2% in the last three months of the year, compared with the same period a year before.

Service revenue means the income it makes from its telecoms services – the majority of the business.

It said it gained thousands more contracted customers during the quarter for its mobile network, including 26,000 for its spin-off digital brand Voxi, and also grew its broadband customer base.

Across the global business, total revenues grew by 4.2% year on year on an organic basis – the firm’s preferred sales measure. But reported sales dipped by 2.3%.

It was a less positive picture for Vodafone’s biggest market, Germany, where service revenue crept up by just 0.3%.

The firm said this slow rise was partly due to it telling another one million broadband and TV customers it was increasing prices, which led to more people switching providers.

Vodafone is planning to merge its UK business with Three UK.

The proposed merger of the networks is set to be formally investigated by the UK’s competition regulator over concerns it could substantially reduce options for mobile customers.

Vodafone says the move will give customers more choice and value, and drive more competition in the market.

The firm has also been looking to free up cash and improve its financial performance by selling off parts of the business, including its Spanish arm.

It is also planning to cut about 11,000 jobs over three years as part of efforts to simplify the global business, which could affect markets worldwide. About a third of the role reductions have already been completed.

Our announced transactions in the UK and Spain are progressing well, and we are in active discussions in Italy

Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone

Chief executive Margherita Della Valle said Vodafone is in “active discussions” in Italy over a possible deal.

She said: “We maintained good service revenue momentum in the third quarter across both Europe and Africa, supported by a further acceleration of Vodafone Business, with our cloud and Internet of Things services growing over 20%.

“Our announced transactions in the UK and Spain are progressing well, and we are in active discussions in Italy.

“We’ve also begun strategic partnerships with Microsoft and Accenture to fast-track our transformation.”


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