Vodafone subscriber drop attributed to tourist subscriptions
Mobile phone company Vodafone Malta Limited has reacted to the story published in last Wednesday’s edition of Business Today about the drop during the last quarter of the financial year ending 31 March 2009, attributing the drop to tourist who take temporary subscriptions to the network and then disconnect.
During the first nine months of the 2009 financial year, the number of Vodafone Malta subscribers grew by 7,000 to 207,000 subscribers, then in the last three months of the financial year ending 31 March 2009, Vodafone Malta subscribers dropped by 6,000, ending with a net gain of 1,000 subscribers for the entire financial year.
Asked by Business Today to account for this sharp decline in the last three months of the 2008-2009 Financial Year, a Vodafone Malta spokesperson told Business Today: “We have been in this business for 19 years and definitely do not underestimate quarterly shifts in customer numbers.”
She explained how Vodafone was “very popular” with the tourists who visited the island and purchased a Vodafone line for their stay in Malta. “These customers become inactive in any other quarter and are disconnected at the end of our financial year,” she told Business Today.
“As a result of this seasonality and other improvements in the way we report customer metrics, we prefer to look at the business over a period of one year.”
She went on to explain how the past year had been “a very competitive year in the mobile industry. Over the last six months of the year the market grew from a two-player to a five-player one.
“Our customers have, on the other hand, been consistent in choosing Vodafone. This has resulted in a 0.5 per cent increase in subscriber numbers and a leading market share,” the Vodafone Malta spokesperson told Business Today.
Asked about the launch of Melita Mobile in February as well as the emergence of a number of MVNOs, the Vodafone Malta spokesperson said that each of the new entrants had a “similar impact.”
“In Malta we boast of the fastest switching process and this makes it easier for customers to switch provider, whether it is testing the new operator, or switching back to the established one,” she explained.
Asked what concrete action Vodafone Malta had taken to regain the subscribers lost in the last quarter, the mobile phone company spokesperson told Business Today: “Vodafone’s main focus is the customers on our network and so we are more interested in retaining and satisfying our loyal customers by bringing to the market exclusive devices and services.
“For this reason we’re the only operator to have removed the time-window on all our services and have launched an extremely popular 30c per hour rate to be used by the 200,000 customers who have chosen Vodafone,” she told Business Today.
Following the iPhone and the MiniPC, Vodafone Malta had recently launched the BlackBerry Storm. “All these devices are only available to our customers and are heavily discounted when taken with one of our Pay Monthly plans,” she told Business Today.
“Our communications revolve around ‘Life is now’…but our products actually deliver this,” the Vodafone Malta spokesperson insisted.
Vodafone Malta’s latest product was a product which allowed customers to get the fixed line on their mobile and not be bound to their desk. “This means that whether at the desk, or out of the office, the customer is still ‘InOffice’,” she said.
Finally, Vodafone Malta had recently embarked on a €7 million project to enhance its coverage and bring greater data speeds, both indoors and outdoors whilst returning cost savings because of a more efficient network.
“Such continuous investments allow us to return to our customers more value, in terms of cost saving, solutions and a superior communication service,” she concluded.