Vodafone profit lift as virus sees a rise in demand for reliable wi-fi

Vodafone is line for a profits boost after it saw ‘massive demand’ for its services during the pandemic.

Chief executive Nick Read said the telecoms group’s services have been ‘critical for society’ as lockdowns forced people to work from home, prompting many to invest in more reliable wi-fi and make longer phone calls.

Mobile data use rose 30 per cent in the first half of the year, while the number of voice calls increased by 20 per cent.

Profit boost: Vodafone chief exec Nick Read said the telecoms group's services have been 'critical for society' as lockdowns forced people to work from home

Profit boost: Vodafone chief exec Nick Read said the telecoms group's services have been 'critical for society' as lockdowns forced people to work from home

Profit boost: Vodafone chief exec Nick Read said the telecoms group’s services have been ‘critical for society’ as lockdowns forced people to work from home

It also managed to hold onto more customers, with its churn rate falling from 15 per cent to 13 per cent.

The company expects annual profit to reach between £12.9billion and £13.1billion, which would slightly beat last year’s £13billion.

Vodafone previously estimated it would be ‘flat or slightly down’.

The changed guidance comes despite the company reporting a 2 per cent fall in revenue to £19.2billion in the six months to September.

It was hit by a slump in roaming charges after Covid restrictions forced people to stay at home across much of the West for several months and halted business travel. 

But it swung back into the black, with pre-tax profits rising £1.8billion from a loss £460million last year, when it was forced to write off the entire value of a business in India.

Shares rose 6.9 per cent as investors welcomed the raised guidance and the FTSE 100 firm’s decisio n to keep its dividend near 4p per share.

The company will today provide more details about the planned float in Frankfurt of its mobile phone masts business.

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