Vodafone reports 5.1% profit increase in Q3

Vodafone reported a 5.1% rise in third-quarter revenue after a strong performance in emerging markets saw it add 8.7 million mobile telephone customers over the three months, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Vodafone also reiterated its interest in gaining a controlling stake in India's fourth-largest mobile operator Hutchison Essar, but said it would stick to an unspecified price ceiling in the event of a bidding war.

In a trading update, the company said it crossed the 200-million customer mark in January after net new subscribers on a proportionate basis rose by 22.5% in the three months ended Dec. 31, the report said.

The proportionate numbers count subscribers in proportion to Vodafone's stake in a subsidiary, it counts 44.4% of customers in Verizon Wireless in the US, in which it holds an equivalent stake, the report added.

The Associated Press report further said the biggest revenue increases were seen in Vodafone's emerging markets including Turkey, Egypt and Romania, while its core European markets grew more slowly because of tough pricing competition and market saturation.

Some key shareholders had called for the sale of the Verizon Wireless stake to allow Vodafone to focus on growth in Europe and Asia, the report said.