Growth – the Vodafone way

How did Voda do so well in the last quarter when all the other networks did so badly? It has been rumoured they’ve been intentionally handing out phones and SIMs then counting the spinners…

As recently reported in The Mail on Sunday it appears that Vodafone have been giving away free handsets and airtime laden SIMs to increase their subscriber numbers.

The Mail on Sunday sent a reporter into a Voda store to check the rumour and was told by a member of staff that these giveaways were "to boost customer numbers."

Industry analysts have questioned whether this practice has been devised to prop up subscriber figures whilst Voda told the newspaper that the practice was an "experiment in parts of London for contract customers. It may be rolled out nationwide."

After seeing the story Mobile Business had a dig around and discovered that Peter Erskine of O2 had discovered some ¼ million spinners (individuals who purchases pre-pay deal, uses minutes, discards SIM) on their network and it was policy to remove them from their published subscriber figures.

Why would a network want to seemingly inflate its subscriber base? There was talk of increasing pressure from share holders last year, shortly afterward Voda came up with the goods.

In January Mobile Business reported ‘The network’s customer base has been boosted by strong demand in Europe particularly for pre-paid accounts.’

Commenting on Vodafone’s results to March 31st 2007, Arun Sarin, Chief Executive said:

"These results show we have made good progress in the execution of our strategy…We are well placed to continue delivering on our strategy."

Hmm…