Vodafone loses 160K UK customers in a quarter

Intense competition and economic pressures' have hit revenues at Vodafone UK, although the operator is making more money out of mobile Internet usage.

Vodafone lost around 159,000 customers in the United Kingdom during the quarter ending June 30, according to financial results issued by the operator group last week.

The losses leave Vodafone UK with 18.6 million customers, 57.4 percent of whom are pre-pay users. Vodafone UK also reported a 3.9 percent year-on-year drop in its revenue, from 1.23 billion pounds (US$2 billion) to 1.18 billion pounds (US$1.9 billion), which it said was attributable to "continued intense competition and economic pressures".

Voice revenue was down by around 12 percent, from 822 million pounds (US$1.4 million) to 726 million pounds (US$1.2 million). According to Vodafone, the recession has "resulted in reduced discretionary spend which led to customers optimizing bundle usage, higher pre-paid inactivity and lower roaming revenue".

Data revenue, however, increased by around 25 percent year-on-year, from 110 million pounds (US$180 million) to 137 million pounds (US$225 million). According to Vodafone's statement, this boost came mainly from the use of mobile Internet services and higher wholesale revenue from Vodafone's wholesale agreements with so-called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

The operator warned that the next quarter would be hit by a forced reduction in mobile-termination rates--the fees mobile operators charge other mobile and fixed operators to connect calls from those networks.

Overall, the Vodafone Group's revenue increased by 9.3 percent year-on-year, aided by significant growth in India and South Africa, the company said.

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