Australian mobile network operator Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has reported that customer growth in the last six months of 2010 slowed, in part as a result of market leader Telstra’s aggressive marketing campaigns during the period. VHA, a joint venture formed between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia in mid-2009, reported that it had signed up a total of 142,000 new subscribers in the six months ended 31 December 2010, bringing the total to 7.58 million; by comparison in the first half of the year it added some 539,000 customers. The number of subscribers taking VHA’s 3G services meanwhile stood at 2.149 million at end-2010, up from 1.535 million six months earlier. Of those 855,000 were accessing services via a USB modem, representing 39.8% of the total, while at end-June 2010 the 782,000 USB broadband customers accounted for more than half of the cellco’s wireless broadband subscribers; the increased uptake of smartphones is thought to be one of the reasons for the declining percentage of USB broadband accesses.
For the twelve-month period ended 31 December 2010, the first full year since the merger of the two operators, VHA generated turnover of AUD4.8 billion (USD4.88 billion), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at AUD951.6 million in FY2010. Capital expenditures totalled AUD603 million in 2010, with the company claiming that over 50% of the total spent had been invested in improvements to the Vodafone network including: the start of the rollout of a new 3G 850MHz network; the start of a programme to consolidate and upgrade the core voice and data network; and the first stages of an ongoing upgrade to transmission services including the migration to IP enabled transmission.