Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has added 294,000 subscribers to its mobile network in the first half of 2018, taking its total customer numbers to 5.98 million.
However, the value of those customers has fallen, with average revenue per user at $36.24 a month, down from $38.16 a year ago.
Australia’s third-ranked telco said the drop was due to the inclusion of customers on mobile reseller networks Lebara and Kogan in prepaid numbers, whereas previously they were categorised separately.
Vodafone said a year-on-year comparison taking the reclassification into account would mean just a 2.9 per cent decrease in average revenue per user.
The telco launched unlimited mobile data plans and scrapped excess data charges in May in an effort to attract and retain data-hungry customers.
While acting chief financial officer Sean Crowley said it was “too soon” to see the impact of the new plans, in the six months to June, Vodafone customers churned through 288 petabytes – or 288 billion megabytes – of data.
It’s an increase of 42 per cent on the previous corresponding period.
“The entry point for (unlimited data plans) is $60 and we are seeing really good uptake there,” Mr Crowley said in a phone briefing on Tuesday.
CEO Inaki Berroeta said the company was responding to the increased appetite for data by spending $1.3 billion on its mobile network expansion and evolution to 5G.
While he would not announce an official launch date, Mr Berreota said it should be in line with other providers.
“If you look a little bit into what has been publicly disclosed around availability of 5G devices, we are looking much more at the end of 2019, beginning of 2020,” he said.
Vodafone has also rolled out a broadband offering which Mr Crowely said was “performing to expectations”.
“After a measured launch to ensure the customer experience is right, we have now ramped up distribution and marketing of fixed broadband services,” he said in a statement.
The company’s revenue for the six months to June 30 was up 7.1 per cent to $1.77 billion, but they reported a net loss for the period of $92.3 million, worse than the $81.5 million reported a year earlier due to increased costs.