Vodafone results offer cheer as losses halve

CEO Gent bows out with better news for investors...

CEO Gent bows out with better news for investors...

Outgoing Vodafone CEO Vodafone Chris Gent has delivered some cheer to the mobile market with news that his company has cut its losses by more than 50 per cent. For the full year ended end of March, Vodafone reported losses of £6.2bn - sharply down on the £13.6bn figure reported for losses during the previous year. The UK mobile phone giant reported a 36 per cent increase in operating profit - up to £8.4bn - buoyed by recovery in the demand for mobile services and increased revenue per user (ARPU). The past year saw a number of new services launched by Vodafone, most notably the much-publicised Vodafone live! service which enables users to send MMS messages and play full-colour games on their handsets, all as part of a bundle of offerings. Billed as its 'biggest ever launch' Vodafone live! was geared towards increasing ARPU, which has become the Holy Grail for mobile operators in a saturated market, where there is little chance of signing up large numbers of new subscribers. Operators have increasingly looked to bring in revenue from existing users by touting the availability of extras such as downloadable games and polyphonic ringtones. Multimedia messaging - sending photos and sound files - has also been at the heart of Vodafone's recent advertising. Since launching Vodafone live! the company has signed up one million subscribers to the service. ARPU across the company's properties was up to £292 from £287 for the previous year, suggesting the add-ons are starting to hit home with users. The company also noted a sharp increase in revenue from its high-margin data services - up 73 per cent on the previous year. These results will be the last delivered by Sir Christopher Gent who will be replaced as CEO by Arun Sarin in July. Latterly Gent has come in for fierce criticism for his 'fat cat' pay rises despite the turbulent times suffered by Vodafone.