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Vodafone NZ profit drops to NZ$39m

Vodafone NZ has added 92,000 mobile customers during the FY18 financial year, reporting a full-year profit of NZ$39 million on revenue of NZ$2 billion.

Vodafone New Zealand has revealed a full-year profit drop of NZ$7.7 million down to NZ$39 million despite rising revenues, attributing the result to a "highly competitive market" and declining profitability in the broadband segment.

Vodafone NZ also cited one-off advisor costs for a potential IPO, as well as foreign exchange losses for its profit for the year ended March 31.

Revenue was up by NZ$5.1 million to NZ$2 billion off the back of increasing mobile customer numbers. Vodafone NZ said it added 92,000 customers over the last 12 months while rivals Spark gained 58,000 and 2degrees lost 27,000 customers.

According to outgoing Vodafone NZ CEO Russell Stanners, the telco also maintained its mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) thanks to the additions of data-free Netflix and Vodafone Pass.

"Successful My Flex and Vodafone Pass campaigns materially contributed to Vodafone's strong mobile performance," Vodafone NZ said.

"Since the launch of Vodafone Pass in November 2017, customers have taken up 2.6 million passes, which offer endless data for Kiwis' choice of Social, Music, Video, or Chat content.

"Launched just last month, Unlimited Mobile with Netflix on us for NZ$79.99 per month is being embraced by customers."

Vodafone also pointed to its launch of Vodafone TV, as well as its retention of the number two position in the fixed broadband market "despite aggressive price competition" for its rising revenue.

Vodafone NZ has been moving to expand its services across fibre, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), and government security solutions; during the financial year, Vodafone NZ announced a 5G trial in partnership with networking giant Nokia, with the two companies showcasing use cases and implementations in Auckland in March.

The companies trialled a 5G connection at Vodafone NZ's Innov8 Auckland headquarters across the millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum band, with Stanners at the time saying they would next experiment with 5G across 3.5GHz spectrum.

In February, it was also approved to supply additional services under the New Zealand government's telecommunications-as-a-service (TaaS) panel, adding more managed security offerings.

Since the end of the FY18 financial year, meanwhile, Vodafone NZ has additionally formed a joint venture with Vocus to work on unbundling the New Zealand government's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) fibre network in a bid to take customers away from Chorus and local fibre companies (LFCs).

"The joint venture will involve scoping, designing, and investing in unbundling the fibre local loops of the four LFCs, with a view to providing wholesale fibre products to the retail market in competition with LFCs," Vocus and Vodafone said in June.

The New Zealand Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee had recently recommended the unbundling of fibre services by 2020 [PDF], with Vodafone and Vocus saying they will begin offering consumer and business-grade services in January that year.

Vodafone NZ in May also announced acquiring the remainder of Farmside, the rural broadband and satellite arm of small carrier TeamTalk, for NZ$3 million. The telco acquired the remaining 30 percent of the company after last year taking a 70 percent stake in BayCity Communications, which trades as Farmside, for NZ$10 million.

Vodafone NZ is also working to deploy a narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network across New Zealand this calendar year after trialling the technology in partnership with Nokia back in 2016.

Kogan.com will also be launching its mobile offerings in New Zealand off the back of the Vodafone NZ network for coverage after signing a partnership agreement with the telco in June.

The Australian online retailer electronics manufacturer and retailer's executive director David Shafer cited Kogan Mobile's success in Australia as an MVNO in making its decision to launch in New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND COVERAGE