UK-based mobileco Vodafone said Wednesday that its total proportionate mobile customer base had crossed the 200 million mark.

The operator counted 8.7 million proportionate organic net adds for the quarter to end December, with 3G devices contributing 2.5 million new additions.

Vodafone’s global 3G device base is now more than 13.6 million, with 3G/HSDPA available across 21 of the group’s markets and partner networks.

Arun Sarin, Vodafone CEO, said there was no significant change in the competitive environment in the fourth quarter with Europe remaining challenging. In a bid to expand its offerings, Vodafone has now launched its DSL service in five markets.

The operator also completed the sale of its 25 per cent interest in Proximus to Belgacom as well as the sale of its 25 per cent interest in Swisscom Mobile to Swisscom during the quarter.

During the period, Vodafone acquired a further 4.8 per cent in Vodafone Egypt, bringing its total ownership to 54.9 per cent and showed an interest in a controlling interest in Hutchison Essar in India.

“This potential opportunity is in line with its objective of obtaining control of a mobile company in the important Indian market. The board remains committed to only pursuing transactions that create value for shareholders and that meet the Group’s stated financial investment criteria,” Sarin said.

Ovum analyst John Delaney notes “There are no big surprises in these numbers and Vodafone is probably happy about that,” he said. “In EMAPA (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Affiliates), Vodafone’s portfolio of assets continues to perform solidly as the engine of growth in customer numbers, especially in Egypt and Turkey.

“However, the future performance of this division depends much more heavily at present on the outcome of the battle for control of Hutchison Essar in India,” Delaney said.


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