Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) has closed the half year ended 30 June with a net loss of $153.4 million, a fall from last year's $92.3 million.
It is worth noting that since January the business adopted a new accounting standard – AASB 16 – otherwise the loss would've been $131.8 million.
The total revenue for the period decreased 1.7 per cent to $1.7 billion while earnings increased 14 per cent to $584.6 million.
VHA's customer base grew by 11,754 customers to 5.99 million, a 0.2 per cent increase year over year, although down from the December 18 result of 6.02 million.
"VHA’s performance has remained stable in the face of significant headwinds," VHA CEO Iñaki Berroeta said. "We have maintained our customer base and EBITDA despite declines in revenue and ARPU."
The average revenue per user (ARPU) slowed down to $34.52, or a 5.2 per cent decrease.
VHA acting chief financial officer Sean Crowley attributed the results to a slowdown on prior periods primarily due to falling ARPU.
"This was because of falling prices and increased inclusions, although EBITDA remained positive thanks to a continued focus on reducing costs," Crowley said.
Hutchinson Telecommunications Australia, the publicly-listed entity that owns 50 per cent of VHA, told shareholders that VHA continues to prepare its network for the introduction of 5G, with projects including the virtualisation of its core network, fibre transmission rollout and detailed infrastructure planning.
In March, Vodafone announced a plan to convert part of its spectrum currently used to service its 3G network to increase its 4G capacity across New South Wales.
VHA remains in the process of formulating its future RAN investment plan, as a result of the Government issued security guidance advising network operators that the use of 5G equipment supplied by banned vendors from certain countries would not be permitted due to national security concerns.
The company also stated it remains committed to the proposed merger with TPG, with the court process set to start in September.
In May, the ACCC opposed to the proposed $15 billion merger between TPG and VHA. Ultimately, ACCC chair Rod Sims said that if the proposed merger does not proceed there is a real chance TPG will roll out a mobile network.
Soon after, both telcos filed legal action in response to the ACCC's decision.
In a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court of Australia, VHA said its financial position is such that its ability to undertake an upgrade of its RAN that will address the growing congestion on the VHA Mobile Network is limited.