Vodafone loses 443,000 customers

Vodafone Hutchison is still trying to build its brand perception amid further customer losses

Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (HTA), which has a 50 per cent share in Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), has doubled its loss to $408.8 million for VHA, compared to $175.4 million in 2011.

Vodafone has continued to drop customers, losing 443,000 customers for the 12 months ended 31 December, 2012 to 6.6 million customers. In 2011, it lost 554,000 customers.

Customer service revenue fell also 16.8 per cent to $1,701.4 million.

4G wars: Can Vodafone make a comeback?

HTA also more than doubled its loss to $393.5 million for the 12 months ended 31 December, 2012.

“VHA is implementing a turnaround plan with the full support of both of its shareholders, and has made meaningful inroads in stabilising customer numbers and financial performance,” Canning Fok, chairman of HTA, said in an ASX statement.

“Although continuing losses are anticipated in 2013, [HTA] expects improvements in VHA’s performance through the year and into 2014.”

In its preliminary final report released on Monday, HTA said the telco industry is shifting from voice and text services to an increased use of data as smartphone up-take grows.

“To address these needs and its weak brand perception, VHA continued its accelerated investment in building and upgrading the Vodafone network and introducing new customer service initiatives. The focus of the network investment has continued to be voice and data performance, resiliency and coverage,” the company said in its preliminary final report.

“While VHA continues to address the issues that underlie its brand perception in an intensely competitive mobile market, VHA’s results for the year ended 31 December 2012 reflect the continued impact of these issues.”

As part of a new single-brand strategy, VHA announced it will close or rebrand Crazy John’s retail stores across Australia.

And while Telstra and Optus both launched 4G late last year, Vodafone has only just announced trials of its upcoming 4G LTE network.

Vodafone has been testing the 4G network in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, reaching speeds of 60-67Mbps download and 25-30Mbps upload, according to the telco.

On Monday it was revealed that law firm Piper Alderman plans to serve a class action to Vodafone regarding network problems which dogged the telco in 2010 and 2011.

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