Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)’s former boss, Bill Morrow, expected the telecommunications provider’s subscriber loss to halt by mid-2014, but the company continues to feel the aftermath of its 2010 outages.
Hutchison Telecoms (HTAL) has reported that another 137,000 customers walked away from Vodafone in the six months to June 30, 2014, three per cent down from the previous half-year to 5.2 million.
The telecommunications provider said most of these were pre-paid and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) consumers, while mobile broadband remains a challenge.
Despite the decline, Vodafone claims that its post-paid business is stabilising on the back of what it considers high-value customers; those who use more data as a result of 4G uptake and the subsequent transition to higher-priced plans.
“The good news is the customers we are acquiring are higher value, and both our average revenue per user [ARPU] and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation [EBITDA] continues to grow,” Vodafone said in a statement.
“SIM-only plans have also been a real success story of the first half of this year.”
But according to HTAL financial report, “industry growth was subdued in the saturated consumer mobile segment with mobile penetration at more than 130 per cent”, despite what it calls an “improved operating performance.”
It also said “the relatively inert customer base was another hurdle to acquiring new customers.”
Vodafone finished the half with a $79.5 million loss, an improvement on its loss of $95.8m in the previous corresponding period. HTAL’s 50 per cent share in Vodafone’s net loss included in HTAL’s results for the period was $79.3m.
The telco claims that by the end of June, its combined networks reached 96 per cent of the Australian population. It launched its 4G network on June 12, 2013; it said it added an average of 100 4G sites per month in the fiscal half just passed. It expects to increase this to 300 per month throughout the rest of the year.