Feeds

Vodafone & Orange numbers point to mobile ARPU stability

Very important acronym

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The most important acronym in the mobile industry at the moment is ARPU. All the operators - at least in developed mobile markets - are struggling to push up average revenue per user (ARPU), even at the expense of growth in terms of subscriber numbers.

On Tuesday, Berkshire, UK-based Vodafone Group, the world's largest mobile carrier, and Paris-based Orange SA reported their subscriber numbers and revenue trends, and both reported improving trends in ARPU.

Vodafone claimed to have 99.9 million "proportional" customers and said it added 4.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2002. The blended ARPU remains stable in major markets, said Vodafone, but only when adjusted for seasonal effects. The company added 3.1 million new customers from existing operations, and 1 million from its acquisition of a larger share in Japanese operator J-Phone. Vodafone is also trimming its global prepaid customers, bringing them down to exactly 50% overall, obviously in a move to increase ARPU.

Orange, on the other hand, was reporting revenues alongside customer data. The company reported 2001 revenue up 25% at 15.1bn euros ($13.1bn). For the year it added 8.8 million customers, to take the total to 39.3 million, a 29% increase. In its two major operating territories, France and the UK, it added 3.5 million and 2.7 million respectively.

Current monthly ARPU is £20.50 on Orange and £22.83 on Vodafone.

In the UK, it now claims the second successive quarter of rising ARPU, while in the year ARPU was down across all operations, by around 8% in France, and down around 12.1% in the UK. However, with both aggressively attempting to stall downward ARPU trends, 2002 could really be the year of the rapidly rising ARPU.

In an era when customer growth is king, the operators could be expected to count any registered account, used or unused as an account. When judgment of their business rests on wringing more money out of their subscribers, they need to get rid of the infrequent users or effectively inactive accounts.

So, unsurprisingly, they have both changed the method for measuring active customers, which in itself knocks out customers that generate little revenue, suggesting that both are trying to massage their ARPU figures for the financial community. Orange, for example, said that it could not include 656,000 customers in its numbers, as they didn't meet its conditions for active users.

© Computerwire.com. All rights reserved.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.