Vodafone’s 2012-13 results are littered with bad news stories surrounding the ongoing bleed of customers. At its next results briefing, the company expects to lose more than ever, but not for the reasons you might think.
Vodafone CEO, Bill Morrow, told journalists at a briefing this morning that accounting and finance changes surrounding the reporting of results means that a huge slide in customer numbers is on the way.
Speaking about customer losses, Morrow said that the change from negative to positive won’t happen until next year, after a last big hit of losses due to reporting changes.
“[Customer losses are] going to be bigger than what the normal run rate is because we’ve cleaned up accounting and [eliminated] a large number of non-tolling customers. [In the past] we would have gone to customers and given them another SIM and counted them as a revenue-generating customer, but they’ll toss that into a drawer. We’ve been showing that as a customer [when we don’t want to be]. The finance guys and accounting guys have been told to remove those as customers because they aren’t bona fide [users]. We’ve been doing that in the last half of this year,” Morrow said.
The Vodafone CEO also said that the closure of the 3 Mobile brand in Australia will also contribute to a larger slide in customer losses.
“With 3 [Mobile], we migrated 1.2 million customers, and there are still a low monthly spend category of customer who didn’t want to move [to Vodafone] because it was [used] as a second or third service that they had in a glove box for safety reasons and they just closed that down with the merger.”
Morrow added that the new reporting structure has been put in place for full transparency about the telco’s customer base.
“We want to give you the real story as to what’s happening, and that’s what we’re going to evaluate next January/February.”
Briefly, Vodafone also mentioned at the briefing that it would be open to discussions with Telstra over supporting cross-network HD Voice calls.
“We’re open to cross-network HD Voice. Anything that delivers that customer experience we want. We’d be happy to have the inter-carrier connection. We encourage that.”
Vodafone has always flagged its intention to jump into fixed line space via the National Broadband Network. Those plans look set to be put on ice for now, however, thanks to the current uncertainty surrounding the government infrastructure.
“The NBN schedule keeps floating around so it’s not a major concern of ours,” Morrow said, before declaring that the telco would likely look to jump in on the fibre network around 2016-17, rather than next year or the year after.
Morrow also revealed he has had productive meetings with new Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
“Malcolm [Turnbull] is a mental sponge, he wants to learn everything we can share.”
Moving into the future, Morrow promised customers that they would see constant positive change from the telco.
At a high level, Vodafone’s CEO Bill Morrow is promising more international roaming, more network news, more pricing plans, more local service, more technological innovation in the future.