Vodafone sees 650 percent data jump on roaming

Vodafone Australia has seen the amount of data used by customers travelling abroad increase by 650 percent since introducing the AU$5-per-day roam-as-home option.

Vodafone customers using their mobiles overseas on the company's roaming plans are using more data abroad than they are back home, according to CEO Inaki Berroeta.

For Vodafone's Red plan, customers travelling to places like the US, the UK, New Zealand, parts of Asia, and Europe can spend an additional AU$5 per day and continue to use their mobiles as they would if they were still in Australia.

The offer has proved to be popular for Vodafone customers travelling overseas, Berroeta told journalists on Monday, with a 650 percent jump in data usage compared to just one year ago.

"The usage that [a] customer makes of the Vodafone service in [a] foreign country is very similar to what they do in Australia. They do use data more abroad," he said.

Berroeta said that Vodafone's offer had forced Optus to introduce its own roaming option, and forced Telstra to slightly lower its roaming prices.

"I think [it is] important to see how it has not only benefited Vodafone customers, but the industry as a whole," he said.

One year into the job, Berroeta said 2014 was the year that Vodafone came back into the market, with a 16-point improvement in the company's net promoter score and the launch of the iPhone 6 "going gangbusters" for the third-largest telco.

Berroeta indicated that the company has exited its turnaround plan, and is gaining momentum for growth in customer numbers in 2015. The first test for the company to prove that it has begun a return to growth will be in results released by its parent company next week.

To kick off 2015, Vodafone will be introducing carrier aggregation in the first quarter, which will allow the company to combine 4G spectrum to boost speeds on its 4G network.

The company will also bring shared plans to allow families to pool call and data allowances across multiple devices.

After a successful commercial test of voice over LTE (VoLTE), which will ultimately replace the traditional switching for voice calls with IP-based calls, Vodafone now plans to launch the service later this year.

"If you look at what VoLTE brings... it gives the possibility to change between different types of technology. [It also provides] better quality, faster speed, but also enhances the experience," Berroeta said.

"VoLTE is really a truly IP connectivity, which is much more flexible than the traditional switching."

In retail, Vodafone opened 30 new retail outlets, and plans to open even more in 2015, with over half opening before the end of June.

Vodafone sales director Ben McIntosh said there was a "stringent process" for the selection of the location of the new stores, with the company only launching in places where the network coverage is "five stars".

As ZDNet first reported last month, Vodafone is also looking at offering video content bundling in addition to its music bundle with Spotify.