Vodafone proffers robust results

Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator by revenue, has reported a recovery in the UK market for the year to end of March and reiterated plans to expand its financial and mobile data services for business.

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The strategy was outlined after the British company announced a 3.2% rise in annual group revenue to £45.9bn for the year to March 31 2011. A surge in demand for smartphones helped lift profits to £9.5bn.

The company gave a relatively upbeat outlook for the year ahead, but warned that markets in southern Europe were “challenging”.

“The past year has seen further strong performances in our key revenue growth areas of data, emerging markets and enterprise, and we have gained or held market share in most of our key markets,” said group chief executive Vittorio Colao. “We enter the new financial year well positioned to deliver further value to our shareholders.”

In the UK, service revenue increased by 4.7%, thanks to growth in data revenues from customers with smartphones, mobile internet bundles, and growth in new customers, which “more than offset continued competitive pressures and weaker prepaid revenue”.

Vodafone has identified financial mobile services and “machine-to-machine services” – where wired and wireless services can communicate with each other as growth areas.

The operator said that its mobile money-transfer service which now has over 20 million customers and is being trialled in India.

In the UK, Vodafone faces renewed competition from Everything, Everywhere, the company created last year by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile.

However, Vodafone’s comments on the UK market are more upbeat than rivals including Everything Everywhere and 02, which released results in the past few weeks.

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