Vodafone’s Irish mobile unit says that increasing popularity for smartphones and mobile broadband packages were behind its strong subscriber growth in the last three months of 2010. The company ended the year with around 2.217 million mobile users, thanks to 34,000 net additions in Q4, up from 2.145 million a year earlier. The company reported that almost one in two devices sold by Vodafone Ireland in December was a smartphone – predominantly Apple’s iPhone and Google-based Android handsets. Including the operator’s fixed line and DSL businesses, the total subscriber figure rose to 2.4 million at the year end.
Vodafone said mobile quarterly minutes of use (MOU) per customer grew 5% year-on-year, to 273 minutes in 4Q10. In addition, the cellco said data traffic increased by around 5% in the fourth quarter, aided by the poor weather experienced in the country, which forced a large number of people to work from home during December. However, blended average revenue per user (ARPU) fell by 6.9% to EUR34.90 (USD41.8) a month.
The cellco also announced the launch of a new device designed to boost 3G signal coverage indoors. Vodafone’s ‘Sure Signal ‘device is a femtocell that uses a fixed line broadband connection to create a 3G signal for its network if there is none available, or boost weak signal. The device, which will go on sale in about two weeks, will cost less than EUR100.