Wed, Nov 11, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Vodafone service revenue upbeat on Europe’s recovery


A woman speaks on a mobile phone as she walks past a branch of Vodafone in London, England, on March 17 last year.

Photo: AFP

Vodafone Group Plc, the second-largest mobile phone company by customers, reported second-quarter service revenue that rose more than analysts estimated as markets in Europe recovered.

Service revenue, the money that Newbury, England-based Vodafone gets from customers’ plans and traffic on its network, rose 1.2 percent in the second quarter through September, the company said in a statement yesterday.

That compared with an average 0.8 percent increase predicted by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The figure excludes the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations.

Vodafone is getting a boost from rebounding markets in Europe, which had been battered by price wars and high unemployment, as well as a surge in demand for mobile data in Africa and India.

Chief executive officer Vittorio Colao has reshuffled his management team and committed billions in new network spending in the past few years as he attempts to improve the company’s service and add new products such as TV and high- speed Internet.

The company updated its forecast for the fiscal year, saying it expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of £11.7 billion (US$17.7 billion) to £12 billion. That lifted the bottom end of its EBITDA forecast from £11.5 billion.

Still, there have been setbacks. The company’s talks with John Malone’s Liberty Global PLC fell apart in September. Malone’s operations in Europe would have helped Vodafone accelerate its plans to add cable and Web customers.

In the UK, Vodafone’s home market, the company’s biggest competitors are merging. Telefonica SA’s O2 and CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd’s Three are to combine to become the biggest mobile operator next year. Former home phone monopoly BT Group Plc is buying wireless carrier EE to create the biggest converged operator.

Outside of Europe, Vodafone is considering an initial public offering of shares in its Indian unit. The market, where Vodafone has more than 180 million customers, is one of the fastest growing in the world.

The company is assessing the impact of new wireless operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, due to start service next month, before it sells shares later next year, people familiar with the matter have said.

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