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Vodafone Australia sheds another 128,000 customers

Vodafone has continued to see revenue decline, but has slowed the number of customers it is losing.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Vodafone Group, the part owner of Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has reported a 16 percent decline in revenue for the telco in the last three months of 2012, with 128,000 customers lost.

The company, which reports half of the gains or losses made by Vodafone Australia, its joint venture with Hutchison, said in its results (PDF), that in the last three months of 2012, it lost 64,000 customers, bringing the base to 3.1 million. In total, this means Vodafone Australia lost 128,000 customers, to a total base of 6.2 million. Since the beginning of its network problems back in 2010, Vodafone Australia has now lost 1.3 million customers.

Vodafone Group blamed a 16 percent decline in revenue — slightly higher than the 14.4 percent decline in the last quarter — on continued weakness in brand perception, declining customer base, and lower average revenue per user (ARPU).

The decline is lower than in the last quarter — in June to September, Vodafone shed 154,000 customers — but compared to the same quarter in 2011, Vodafone shed over double the 60,000 customers it lost in that period.

The loss came in a period where the company cut its workforce in a restructuring move aimed at turning around the fortunes of Australia's third-largest mobile provider.

Vodafone Group CFO Andy Halford said Vodafone Australia had completed a 35 percent cut of its headcount, and the company had completed the overhaul of its network with network vendor Huawei.

The company's other parent company, Hutchison, is expected to release its results later this month.

On Thursday, Telstra reported gaining 607,000 new mobile customers in the last six months of 2012, bringing its total mobile customer base to 14.4 million. Optus will announce its quarterly results next week.

The announcement comes as Vodafone's CEO Bill Morrow has called for the government to review the subsidies paid to Telstra to supply fixed-line services in Australia. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy blasted Morrow for the suggestion, mocking the company's customer losses in Australia.

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