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Vodafone sees TV base shrink as competition bites in Spain

Vodafone saw its European TV customer base shrink in the quarter to June, with the international operator being particularly hard hit by losses in Spain.

Vodafone lost 32,000 TV customers in the Spanish market in the three months to June 30, compared with a loss of 24,000 for the comparable quarter last year. This followed 10,000 TV losses in the quarter to March.

Vodafone recently took the decision not to sign a deal with Telefónica for football rights, saying it had had declined to accept conditions laid down by Telefónica based on minimum guarantees for its El Partizado and Champions League channels.

Vodafone blamed competition in the market for its high churn in Spain, which also affected its fixed business, with a loss of 49,000 broadband customers and 59,000 fixed phone customers.

On the upside, Vodafone grew its Spanish contract mobile base by 141,000 and Vodafone One, its integrated fixed, mobile and TV service grew its base by 66,000 year-on-year to reach 2.5 million.

Elsewhere in Europe, Vodafone lost 13,000 TV customers in Germany, compared with 10,000 lost in the same quarter last year.

TV gains in Italy, Portugal and elsewhere failed to offset the Spanish and German losses, with Vodafone reporting a net loss of 13,000 TV customers overall for the quarter, compared with a loss of 6,000 for the same quarter last year. Overall, Vodafone had 9.7 million TV customers at the end of June.

However, with the exception of Spain, Vodafone made broadband gains elsewhere, adding 128,000 customers overall to take its broadband base to 14.6 million. The company also reported success in building its base of converged customers, adding 492,000 in the quarter to take its total to 4.9 million.

Overall, Vodafone saw revenues slide by 4.9% to €10.9 billion, hit by the entry of Iliad in the Italian mobile market as well as by price competition in Spain. Indian revenue also dropped by 22%.

CEO Vittorio Colao said that the decline in revenue had been in line with expectations and highlighted to role of recovery in the UK and growth outside of Europe in offsetting the impact of competition in Italy and Spain. The company reiterated its outlook for the year.