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Vodafone Sees Healthy Mobile Data Income, But Devalues Indian Business

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Smartphone handsets fueled the money Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) makes from internet data to £4 billion ( billion) during its 2009/10 fiscal year – nearly a fifth more than in the previous year.

Across that year, group profit rebounded 180 percent to £8.6 billion ( billion), recovering from last year’s £5.9 billion write-off against Turkish and Spanish telcos, on 8.4 percent higher revenue of £44.5 billion.

But Verizon Wireless in the U.S. was Vodafone’s only global geographic constituent to post higher service revenue – in its core Europe, it fell 3.5 percent to £28.3 billion.

But there’s another writedown hit – Vodafone is knocking £2.3 billion off the value of its Indian operations thanks to “the award of six new national licences in the market one year after our entry and the resulting intense price competition”.

Funny kind of pessimism – in the big, developing country, Voda attracted 32 million new Indian customers last year alone, taking it up to 72 million and leading income there up 14.7 percent.

Service revenue in Voda’s native UK dipped 4.7 percent thanks to Europe’s enforced mobile termination rate cut, which is affecting all operators there, and the decline in the last quarter slowed to 2.6 percent.

Things are maybe looking up – Voda says that last quarter in that year shows the global economic slowdown has “diminished somewhat”, because services income was down “only” 0.2 percent.

The carrier says 50 million of its 341 million customers are active data users, 31 million of them on mobile internet. And, incidentally, Indian data revenue came in at £169 million last year.

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