Vodafone UK service revenue grew 7% to £1.26bn during the quarter ended 31 December, driven by 30% growth in data revenue as consumers bought smartphones with data bundles.
Data revenue was £195m, up from £150m in the same period in 2009. Voice revenue fell to £645m, from £648m a year earlier.
The growth was driven by strong net customer additions and improved ARPU, which the operator said ‘more than offset’ continued competitive pressures and weaker prepaid revenue.
At the end of December, 28% of all Vodafone UK customers (5.3 million) were using a smartphone, compared with 16.8% across the whole of Vodafone Europe in the same period.
Almost half of Vodafone’s contract customers have a smartphone (49%) and 70% of all new contract customers joining Vodafone UK take a smartphone, compared with 43% across Vodafone in Europe.
This helped increase monthly ARPU to £21.70 in Q3, up from £21.20 in the previous quarter. Contract ARPU was £37.10 in the quarter – up from £36.60 in the previous quarter.
UK fixed revenue remained flat at £8m.
Meanwhile, Vodafone added 195,000 customers during its third quarter, growing its customer numbers to 19.2 million.
The operator’s prepay base was 50.8% of its total customers at the end of the quarter. Churn was 35.9%, of which 54% was prepay and 17% contract.
Meanwhile, Vodafone Group service revenue grew by 2.5% to £10.9bn with data revenue up 27%, led by higher smartphone penetration and ‘data attach’ rates in Europe.
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said: ‘This is the fifth successive quarter of service revenue growth improvement, with strong results from India, Turkey, the UK and Vodacom. In addition, Verizon Wireless continues to show strong momentum. Our performance has been driven by the effective execution of our strategy to strengthen our businesses and deliver growth, particularly in data services and emerging markets.’