Double whammy: Vodafone faces tough competition in Europe

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VODAFONE has been hit by a double whammy of tough competition hitting performance in the UK and Europe, and a currency crisis blunting the impact of strong growth in emerging markets.

Service revenues for the mobile phone operator were down 4.8 per cent on an underlying basis for the quarter ending on December 31, following a 4.9 per cent dip in the six months to the end of September.

Europe saw a 9.6 per cent decline, driven by challenging economic conditions, increased competition and regulator-imposed price changes, with the UK off by 5.1 per cent and Italy down 16.6 per cent.

Vodafone did much better in markets such as India, where it added 4.9 million mobile users in the quarter alone to take its customer base to 160.4 million, and service revenue grew by 13.2 per cent. Service revenues were up by 5.5 per cent on an underlying basis in the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

But they fell six per cent after taking into account the sharp currency movements particularly in the Indian rupee, South African rand, Turkish lira and Australian dollar.

Vittorio Colao, the chief executive (pictured above), said: “Our emerging market businesses are growing strongly.”

Professor Peter Moizer, Dean of Leeds University Business School

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