The world’s largest cellco Vodafone Group has announced a 4.3% rise in its customer base in its fiscal first quarter, boosted by increased shareholdings in its Japanese businesses. 2.78 million of the group’s 5.77 proportionate new additions were a result of last week’s USD1.8 billion buyout of the remainder of Vodafone KK and the upping of the group’s stake in holding company Vodafone Holdings KK. Vodafone Group ended June 2004 with 139.2 million proportionate customers. In October 2003 the group began bringing KK’s mobile internet service under the Vodafone Live! banner and it finished June 2004 with more than nine million subscribers to the service worldwide. In January Vodafone took full control of its Greek unit for USD1 billion and now wholly owns its businesses in the UK, Ireland, Malta, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Sweden. Blended annual average revenue per user (ARPU) fluctuated in the group’s four biggest markets of Germany, Japan, Italy and the UK, with slight declines for the former two but small increases for the last pair. Data revenues as a percentage of total service revenues increased from 15% in the year to 30 June 2003 to 16.4% a year later.