According to Vodafone’s Group Chief Executive, Nick Read, the company’s latest preliminary results for 2020 (opens in new tab) show that it has “delivered a good financial performance”, whilst growing revenue, building strong commercial momentum, and executing on strategic priorities.
The report reveals that group revenue grew by 3.0% to €45.0 billion, and that adjusted EBITDA grew by 2.6% to €14.9 billion, “reflecting revenue progression and cost programme success”. But the outlook for FY21 was cautious, with an adjusted EBITDA for FY21 expected to be “flat to slightly down”.
A year of investment
In FY20 the company launched its Vodafone 5G services in 97 cities across eight European markets, according to its latest report. And during the year Vodafone also launched a number of commercial initiatives, including unlimited mobile data plans across six markets, whilst growing its unlimited data customer base to four million SIMs by the end of FY20.
“We have also continued to invest in our fixed and mobile Gigabit network infrastructure and digital services, to provide faster speeds for our customers, as well as successfully managing the recent surges in demand,” said Vodafone’s Group Chief Executive, Nick Read. "The services Vodafone provides are more important than ever and we are committed to playing a key role in society’s recovery to the ‘new normal’.”
In December 2019, Vodafone became the first network operator in Europe to announce an agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support ultra-low latency mobile edge computing services, by deploying AWS Wavelength solutions at the edge of Vodafone's 5G networks, with millisecond latency.
“With low latency, the new services will help support artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, video analytics, autonomous vehicles, robotics and drone control, and will generate incremental revenues for the Group,” the report stated.
Network sharing and beyond
Network sharing partnerships were also undertaken across Europe, which was vital in delivering improved mobile coverage in rural areas, reducing environmental impact, and increasing the pace of 5G network deployment. Companies Vodfaone partnered with included Deutsche Telekom in Germany, Telecom Italia in Italy, Orange in Spain and Romania, Telefonica in the UK, and Wind in Greece.
And whilst the full economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, Vodafone has said that it is “likely to be significant”, claiming that even telcos, which in some cases have benefited from changes in behaviour, are not immune to the challenges.
“We are experiencing a direct impact on our roaming revenues from lower international travel and we also expect economic pressures to impact our customer revenues over time,” the report said. “However, we are also seeing significant increases in data volumes and further improvements in loyalty, as our customers place greater value on the quality, speed and reliability of our networks.”
And in a statement to the rest of the business, Nick Read praised Vodafone’s staff for their response to the coronavirus epidemic.
“I am pleased with the rapid, comprehensive and coordinated way we responded to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Read. “I want to give my personal thanks to the entire Vodafone team, who through their dedication, expertise and professionalism, have kept families, friends and communities connected, enabled students to continue their education, helped businesses operate and proactively supported governments to deliver critical services.”
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