Vodafone UK CEO sets 2-year target for return to growth

The head of Vodafone UK said he plans to return the operator to growth in terms of both revenue and profits within the next two years, and intends to achieve that goal by continuing to improve the quality of the company's network service.

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Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone UK CEO

According to Bloomberg, Jeroen Hoencamp told journalists in London this week that his aim is to take the business back to growth in 18-24 months. He regards improvements to the network quality as essential in such a competitive and saturated market.

"Nothing else matters if we don't focus on network," Hoencamp said, Bloomberg reported. "It was the one message that came through loud and clear from our customers."

The operator has its work cut out, according to one network analysis company: it was ranked last in mobile network tests carried out by RootMetrics in the first half of the year, with EE ranked first.

Vodafone UK is also now battling to win LTE customers in the face of fierce competition from rivals Three UK, O2 UK and EE, and has recently implemented measures such as extending LTE to prepaid customers.

Nonetheless, Hoencamp ruled out offering bundles of home broadband, TV and mobile services--so-called quad-play bundles--to consumers in the UK anytime soon, saying the market is not yet ready. However, the provision of bundled services is a core strategy in the enterprise market, and the acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide two years ago has bolstered Vodafone's business in this segment.

In other markets such as Spain, quad-play is a key strategy for Vodafone as operators there seek new ways to retain customers in a difficult market environment.

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao also recently said that Liberty Global could be a good fit for the operator at the right price, and indicated that some sort of "transformational M&A" could be considered in the future.

Vodafone UK is the group's second-largest unit, accounting for 17 per cent of revenue. In July, Colao said the company's European businesses showed signs of stabilising in the calendar second quarter of 2014--the company's fiscal first quarter--despite the region dragging down total group revenue during the period. Group sales declined 4.4 per cent year-on-year in the April to June period.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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