The company's acting chief financial officer, Sean Crowley (below, right), said in a statement on Wednesday the company had not been in a position to adopt a more pushy approach to increasing its mobile customer numbers in 2019.
The company reported a full-year net loss of $279.3 million in what could be its last annual results before the TPG merger is completed. It has never turned a profit since being set up in 2009.
VHA chief executive Iñaki Berroeta that the company was proceeding with necessary change in the wake of the Federal Court's ruling on its merger with TPG Telecom.
“We are very excited to be pushing ahead with our plans for 2020 by delivering our first 5G sites within weeks, with the initial rollout to continue throughout the year,” Berroeta said.
“These will be the first of over 650 5G sites in progress. Several thousand sites are to be built over the coming years, with the merger to enable acceleration.”
He said the company had taken a disciplined commercial approach in 2019, emphasising the quality of its mobile network and customer service, and selecting a new 5G vendor. Towards the end of the year, the company announced that it had picked Finnish firm Nokia to build its 5G network.
“In 2019, we managed the uncertainty by taking a deliberate focus on commercial stability, so we are pleased with our EBITDA result,” Berroeta said. The company recorded 6.9% year-on-year EBITDA growth in 2019.
Crowley said: “In our first full year in the fixed broadband market, our Vodafone NBN base more than tripled, with more than 40% of customers connected to the 100 speed-tier."
The first 5G device that VHA will sell is the Samsung Galaxy S20.
The full-year results:
- EBITDA of $1178.7 million, a 6.9% year-on-year increase from $1102.2 million;
- Total revenue of $3523.4 million, a 2.8% year-on-year decrease from $3626.4 million;
- Mobile ARPU of $33.35, a 4.9% year-on-year decrease from $35.05 (due to an accounting change);
- VHA net loss of $279.3 million, a 124.5% year-on-year increase from $124.4 million.
- Fixed customer base of 114,000, a 245.5% year-on-year increase of 81,000;
- Total mobile network customer base of 5.744 million, a 4.6% year-on-year decrease of 275,000;
- Post-paid mobile customer base was 3.416 million, a 1.1% year-on-year decrease from 3.454 million;
- Pre-paid customer base was 2.018 million, an 8.6% year-on-year decrease from 2.209 million and the MVNO customer base was 310,000, a year-on-year decrease of 12.9% from 356,000.