Vodafone set to complete 4G rollout

Vodafone Hutchison Australia will next month complete its rollout of 4G across its network, the telco’s CEO said today.

Data usage grew explosively on the telco’s network in 2015, CEO I?aki Berroeta said. On the back of increased customer numbers and investment in its network, data usage grew 84 per cent year-on-year.

The telco made a number of significant network announcements last year, including a dark fibre deal with TPG and the a refresh of its core network in collaboration with Ericsson.

The telco has moved customers to the Ericsson-designed network and in December began migrating customers to Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

“All in all we continued to base the trajectory of this company and we continue to base the growth of this company on a very strong network program,” Berroeta.

The CEO also noted that in 2015 Vodafone participated in the government’s mobile blackspot program. Funding from that program will help build 70 Vodafone base stations.

VHA reported revenue of $3.65 billion for 2015, the telco announced today. (Vodafone Hutchison Australia is a 50:50 joint venture between Vodafone and Hutchison Telecommunications Australia.)

VHA CFO James Marsh said it was “a solid set of results” with the telco’s key metrics showing “positive movements upwards.”

Revenue grew 4.5 per cent in the 12 months to 31 December on the back of a 2.5 per cent growth in mobile services on the Vodafone network.

Customers on the Vodafone network (including the telco’s own customers as well as those of MVNOs) grew to 135,000, ending the year at 5.4 million.

A 3.5 per cent increase in Vodafone’s post-paid customer base helped boost EBITDA by 5.4 per cent to $813 million on the back of growth in average revenue per user to $52.38 (an increase of 3.1 per cent).

Vodafone saw its loss decrease by 34.4 per cent to $375 million compared to $603 million in 2014.

“It would be fair to say that our loss position has improved significantly by 35 per cent but we still retain a loss on the business,” Marsh said.

“What drives that? There are two still things that are still in place: Depreciation from our huge investments that we’ve made in the last four years flow through our profit and loss account and also our interest charge, which has funded that investment.

“So overall, we see very strong performance, which we’re very pleased with.”

NBN opportunities

Getting into the fixed services market through the National Broadband Network is still a possibility Vodafone is interested in, Berroeta said.

“I think that in this market, with the opportunities that NBN brings into the market, this is an area that we definitely need to look [at],” the CEO said.

“But I always say the same thing,” he added. “We will get into offering fixed services when we are able to really bring something that is different to the market and something that is good value to our customers.”

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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