Vodafone Boosted By Facebook Streaming

Sky News

Vodafone’s latest trading update shows that the slowdown in European sales is easing, as it announces complete 4G coverage in London.

Overall revenue grew 0.8% in the three months to 30 June, with European revenue falling 1.5%.

This is a marked improvement from March when it announced that full-year European revenues had fallen nearly 5%. 

Its European 4G coverage reached 75%, which is better than the UK’s 68% coverage.

But there was positive news for its London-based customers who now have 100% coverage, the firm said.

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s boss, said: “More of our European businesses are returning to growth, as customer demand for 4G and data takes off.”

Data usage continues to increase significantly, led by the take up of 4G, with 18.9 million 4G customers across Europe, the company said.

Across the group, the total amount of data traffic carried over its network has grown by 78% year-on-year, with the Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region growing 97%, whilst in Europe traffic grew 64%.

From a data perspective, it seems Vodafone – the world’s second-largest mobile operator – has benefited from a decision made by Facebook to compete with Google’s YouTube.

In order for Facebook to encroach on the video-streaming market, it took the decision earlier this year to autoplay videos on mobile devices.

Although autoplay can be disabled, the default is for it to be activated which leads to more videos being played and therefore more data being consumed, indirectly benefiting mobile providers such as Vodafone.

Meanwhile, Greece saw very strong fixed broadband customer growth, with 15,000 people there signing up in the three months to the end of June, compared to just 4,000 in the UK. 

Interestingly, Greece is one of only two European countries, the other being Romania, which is seeing pay-as-you-go growth outstripping that of contract sales.

Nearly three-quarters of new customers in Greece are prepay rather than contracted.

By mid morning Vodafone shares were up 3.6%.