3G reverses Vodafone's market share loss

The network is paying off through increased customer numbers and steady revenue

Vodafone says its investment in its 3G network is paying off through increased customer numbers and steady revenue despite lower overall pricing for users.

The mobile services provider picked up the pace in the December quarter and added some 68,000 customers to hit a record total of over two million mobile users, its latest report says.

According to Phil Patel, business market manager at Vodafone, new 3G phones and services were the key drivers for the increased customer numbers.

Patel says Vodafone has managed to keep ARPU (average revenues per user) steady despite lowering prices for it customers, thanks to the 3G offerings. He singled out Vodafone’s deals on 3G phones before Christmas as particularly successful.

Telecom will issue its figures for the same period on February 2, by which time the total number of customers and the market share of both telcos can be calculated. Vodafone’s lead in the mobile market has been steadily hauled in by Telecom, which launched its 3G services a year before Vodafone.

Vodafone expects 2006 to bring regulatory challenges, Patel says, as the government and Commerce Commission take a look at mobile termination rates and debate the future of the TSO(Telecommunications Service Obligation), through which allegedly unprofitable Telecom customers are funded. Vodafone and other non-Telecom carriers are required to contribute to the TSO.

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