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Bloody Hell, Vodafone: Thousands Flee

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 14/11/2013

Red telco still losing customers, bad rep blamed

Vodafone now have 5.03 million subscribers, according to Vodafone Group UK results issued on Wednesday, meaning it is still losing users. 

Figures from Vodafone Group UK show its Australian subsidiary, which it owns 50% of, lost 584,000 of users in the three months to Sept 30, blamed on "weak brand perception" following the Vodafail network crash in 2010-11.

Media reports this week suggest the loss was much higher than 584,000, when compared to last quarter figures at June 30. 

But not so, says Voda management.  

Vodafone Group user numbers differ from Hutchinson Telecommunications Australia, as the former does not include wholesale customers and MNOV's, Vodafone Australia CEO Bill Murrow said in a letter to the ASX this week.

Vodafone Australia is 50:50 owned by Vodafone Group and Hutchinson Telecommunications Australia (HTAL).  

Although user numbers are down, revenue loss is less than last year - reflective of the fact inactive SIMs arising from the closure of 3 network, were worth nothing to the telco.

While customer numbers are down, average revenue per user is up. 

Troubled Vodafone Australia also reported improved margins and earnings (EBITDA) during the quarter.

"Our joint venture in Australia experienced a service revenue decline of 8.1%, which was lower than the 14.8% service revenue decline for the six months ended 30 September 2012. Network performance has improved significantly in recent months, including the launch of a high speed 4G network, however the business continues to be impacted by weak brand perception," according to Vodafone Group report.  

The telco anticipated losses in the second half of this year, as a result of accounting clean up - removed non-tolling (inactive) SIMS from the base and migrating 3 [network] customers over as it shut the network down in August. 

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