Vodafone NZ co-owner Infratil reported the telco improved earnings in the year to 31 March, with full year EBITDA of $481.0 million up from $436.6 million.
Total revenues of $1.97 billion were up slightly from $1.95 billion in 2021 as gains in mobile and other revenues were offset by continuing declines in fixed line services.
Once again, the results highlighted how the competitive telco battlefield had changed.
"The mobile market continues to be characterised by competitive, but sensible behaviour, with each player looking to grow sustainable revenues through average revenue per user (‘ARPU’) improvements as opposed to short-term connections," Infratil told shareholders today.
Monthly mobile data consumption was up 60 per cent compared with 2021 – a trend that was expected to continue.
"The acceleration of data consumption shows no sign of slowing as technology advancements such as 5G deliver new platforms for developers to provide valuable applications for customers," the infrastructure investor reported.
To meet this ongoing demand, Vodafone was continuing to invest hundreds of millions every year into its network and services.
Mobile contrasted with the fixed-line market, which continued to be problematic with new entrants, such as energy companies, having "different drivers" for participating.
"There are now over 100 participants in what remains a small market by international standards," Infratil said. "This puts ongoing pressure on retail price points, fixed wireless access migration and margins."
While the market remained highly competitive and commoditised, Vodafone had nonetheless stabilised ARPU, connections and churn.
"The merger of 2Degrees and Vocus that will compete in both these markets will, on balance, be a good thing for the industry and New Zealand overall," Infratil said.
Vodafone continued to see growth in enterprise revenue, with ICT helping to drive this.
"This was supported by the partner strategy that Vodafone has pursued in order to deliver a full range of tech services to New Zealand businesses, and this will be further strengthened post the recent partial acquisition of Defend."
Defend, a leading New Zealand cybersecurity firm, was acquired by Vodafone in February for an undisclosed sum.
While there continued to be COVID-19 headwinds from the erosion of foot traffic to retail stores and the border closures impacting roaming and pre-pay revenues, Infratil said Vodafone was looking forward to welcoming back more roaming, seasonal worker and tourist revenues over time.
Reopening the borders would also ease supply chain and labour market pressures across the business.
Vodafone’s capital investment programme saw it invest $356.2 million during the year, up from $242.2 million.
This included service enhancements, spectrum purchase, as well as upgrading and expanding its mobile and fixed networks, introducing 5G to Manawatu/ Whanganui and the Bay of Plenty, and upgraded 4G and 5G coverage in Hamilton, Taranaki and Southland, with many more locations to come.
Infratil owns 49.95 per cent of Vodafone with Brookfield Asset Management owning the same alongside shareholder employees. CEO Jason Paris owns 0.03 per cent.