Most businesses have been impacted by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in some way. However, there is always an opportunity in every crisis, and according to Vodafone, the communications industry has a big one. Vodafone published their half-year results this week.
Overall, the global telecoms giant’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) took a hit of just under 2%. But this was mainly due to a decline in sales over the period of 2.3%. Vodafone says most of this can be accounted for by the significant drop-off in roaming revenues due to COVID-19 and the consequent restrictions on international air travel.
According to Vodafone, its non-EU roaming revenue was 70% lower compared to the same period the previous year.
However, these figures do not reflect the primary headline earnings of the company. Vodafone posted a profit of €1.6 billion, compared to a loss of €1.9 billion last year. Meanwhile, CEO Nick Read is optimistic about his company’s future and its ambitious plans:
“The global pandemic has shown that now, more than ever, society, governments, our customers, and businesses rely on the critical connectivity services we provide,” he said.
Read claimed that society now has an “insatiable demand for data” and that Vodafone can meet that demand. It is now the largest cable and broadband provider in Europe and, in Germany alone, has 55 million mobile connections, 11 million fixed-line customers, and 13 million TV subscribers.
Return On Investment?
Vodafone is also heavily investing in 5G networks, with capability in 127 cities across Europe. Plus, it is now the leading data and payments provider in Africa. However, such investment is not cheap, and Vodafone knows it must become more efficient to deliver a return on investment for its shareholders.
It aims to save €1 billion by 2023 in customer communications alone. Achieving that level of efficiency is now a key goal for Mr. Read and his company if they are to deliver proper, sustainable returns to their shareholders.