Vodafone is finally growing again after ten consecutive quarters of decline — all thanks to Africa and India.
The telecoms giant revealed in its full-year results today that it grew by 0.1% in the final three months of the year.
Although small, it indicates that the company’s turnaround plan is working.
Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile operator, also said seven year’s of earnings declines could finally be coming to an end this year.
The company reported earnings of £11.9 billion ($US18.63 billion) for the year ended March 31 and forecast earnings for the year ahead of £11.5-12 billion ($US18-18.79 billion) — stability at last.
Vodafone has been hit hard by increased competition in the European mobile market and a squeeze on consumer spending since the financial crisis.
The key to the company’s return to growth was the rise and rise of mobile internet across Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific (AMAP). While its European business shrunk 2.4% in the fourth quarter, AMAP grew by 6%.
Vodafone highlighted particularly strong growth in India and said across its AMAP markets data usage — the amount of time people are spending browsing the web on their mobiles — more than doubled, growing by 106%.
The company is also hoping to fix its European business by investing in high-end services like 4G as part of its turnaround plan codenamed ‘Project Spring’. Vodafone said Europe began to stabilise in the second half of the year.
Vodafone’s full-year revenue rose 10.1% to £42.2 billion ($US66.08 billion), while operating profit fell by 150.3% to £1.96 billion ($US3.07 billion) as the company invested more in 4G and acquisitions.