Vodafone reported third-quarter service revenue up 2.5 percent year on year, but its mobile data revenue rose much faster, up 25.3 percent. At 11.7 percent of group service revenue, mobile data is now on the point of overtaking Vodafone's cash-cow text-messaging business.
Third-quarter service revenue totalled
Vodafone attributed the rise in mobile data revenue to increased interest in new services such as payment by phone, and the arrival of connected mobile devices for homes and cars, in addition to the usual suspects, smartphones and tablets.
While voice revenue continued to grow in Asia and Africa, it declined in Europe, which accounts for around two-thirds of Vodafone's business, leading to an overall 2.6 percent decline in voice revenue. Revenue from messaging services grew 1.5 percent in Europe, and that from data services 18.6 percent -- but 43.8 percent in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, for an overall data revenue growth rate of 25.3 percent.
The mobile phone operator is refocusing on its operations in Europe, Africa and India: It recently sold its operations in China and on Tuesday announced it will speed up divestiture of the last of its interest in the Japanese business it agreed to sell to Softbank in 2006.
Earnings per share for the six months to Sept. 30 were the highest the company has ever reported, it said, boosted by the sale of its stake in China Mobile.
On six-month revenue of
Vodafone was more optimistic about the future, raising its expectations for operating profit to between
It expects revenue to continue to grow at between 1 percent and 4 percent per year.
Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at email@example.com.