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SMS pumps up Vodafone sales

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Shares in Vodafone were up in morning trading after the world's biggest mobile phone operation posted improved intermim turnover and operating profits.

For the six months to September 30 turnover increased by 27 per cent to £8.9 bn, up from £7 bn in the corresponding period last year.

Operating profit jumped to £3.4bn 40 per cent up on last year's £2.4bn.

The mobile phone operation also boosted its customer base to 95.6 million punters - 15 per cent growth during the period.

Average revenues per user (ARPU) stabilised after a recent decline. This was helped, in part, by an increase in non-voice revenues (SMS etc) which accounted for 9.1 per cent of total service revenues for the year to 30 September 2001, compared with 8.1 per cent for the year ended 31 March 2001.

This upward trend appears to be continuing with Vodafone reporting that in September 2001, non-voice service revenues represented 9.9 per cent of total service revenues.

Of course, Vodafone still has to recoup its multi-billion pound investment in third generation mobile licences. And it also has to wrestle with net debt of £9.2 billion.

By late morning shares were up 4p (2.3 per cent) at 178.25p. ®

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