Vodafone New Zealand, the country's biggest mobile phone operator, lost 26,000 customers in the June quarter as new entrant Two Degrees Mobile Ltd. ate into the client bases of its bigger rivals.
Auckland-based Vodafone had 2.458 million customers as at June 30, down from 2.484 million three months earlier, according to its London Stock Exchange-listed parent's quarterly statement.
That's the fewest customers on Vodafone's books since June last year, when the company shed 35,000 customers.
Still, it's not all bad news for Vodafone, with the percentage of pre-paid customers, which are traditionally lower-value, down to 67.6 per cent.
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Its proportion of pre-paid customers has been steadily declining for the past couple of years as mobile operators try to switch clients on to post-paid plans which include more attractive broadband data services.
The news comes as 2degrees continues its push to win customers from Vodafone and Telecom Corp. having entered the market two years ago.
In March this year, 2degrees said it cornered about 11 per cent of the nation's market with 580,000 customers.
Heavy investment costs of building a network mean it posted a $76.8 million loss on revenue of $107.6 million in the 12 months ended December 31.
Telecom had 2.193 million mobile customers as at March 31, of which half were still on its CDMA network which is being switched next year.