Global telecommunications firm Vodafone Group has reported a dip in its New Zealand revenue amid increased competition.
The New Zealand unit reported a 2.6 per cent decline in service revenue in the 12 months ended March 31 "as a result of aggressive competition," offsetting gains in other Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific nations, the London Stock Exchange parent said in a statement. The New Zealand unit's performance also weighed on the region's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.
While revenue was down, the New Zealand division lifted its contract mobile base 4.6 per cent in the year, and the parent company said its fixed line assets, purchased from TelstraClear in 2012, "benefited from continued uptake of VDSL, TV and unlimited broadband."
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Vodafone New Zealand, the country's biggest mobile phone operator, posted a loss of $27.9 million in the 2014 financial year, its first loss in 13 years, even as revenue climbed 16 per cent to $2.06 billion.
The carrier added 32,000 connections in the March quarter, taking it to 2.36 million customers as at March 31, of which 63.5 per cent were on prepay plans. Vodafone has been losing customers in an increasingly competitive landscape since Two Degrees Mobile entered the market in 2009, grabbing 23 per cent of the market by customers and 17 per cent by revenue.
Vodafone's New Zealand unit reported 409,000 fixed broadband customers as at March 31, down from 424,000 three months earlier as it disconnected a net 1,000 customers and removed 14,000 other customers as a result of restating its customer base.
The mobile operator acquired the fixed-line business in October 2012, expecting to slash back-office duplication, use TelstraClear's backhaul and transmission services, and cut its reliance on Chorus. It amalgamated that unit into the wider New Zealand group in March last year, valuing the assets at $843.6 million.