Revenue fell to £44.4bn in the year to 31 March with the UK-based operator group attributing a regulator-enforced change in how it charges other operators for ending calls on its network as a major factor in the overall decline.
The ongoing tough economic conditions in Europe (see chart on right for a full breakdown) also contributed to the revenue decline.
However, Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao did trumpet increased data revenues, driven by smartphone adoption, as a highlight during the period claiming migrating customers to these plans would be a priority towards 2015.
Revenues from mobile data usage increased 14.4 per cent annually, with 35.4 per cent of its European customers now recorded as smartphone users according to Colao.
He also highlighted that its pan-European Vodafone Red tariff – which lets subscribers upgrade their device and package to “unlimited calls and texts”, with bigger than average data allowances – would drive its marketing communications in the immediate future.
“I remain very excited about our longer term prospects, as customer appetite for high speed data grows rapidly, and companies look to embed mobility into their corporate strategies.
“The launch of Vodafone Red has been very successful, providing a solid underpinning for future revenue as customers take advantage of the best of the Vodafone experience,” he said.
Vodafone’s UK arm is preparing for a major roll out of 4G services, in 2013 having paid £790m to launch such services, with rival operators set to launch similar services in order to make up ground on the country’s current sole 4G operator EE.
Yesterday (20 May), Vodafone UK announced it had appointed marketing industry veteran Daryl Fielding as brand director to lead communications around this launch.
This comes shortly after Vodafone announced it is also developing a new sponsorship strategy after ending its sponsorship of the Formula One team McLaren.