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Vodafone sees data revenues up, despite huge loss

Live! is a bright spot in the midst of record losses for global operator

Vodafone reported losses of almost GBP 15 billion earlier this week, setting a new record for UK corporation - one entry in the record books which the firm, which operates mobile networks around the globe, could probably have done without.

However, looking past the headline figure - which was largely caused by a huge write-down of assets - the firm did report very positive results in the data services sector, including content downloads from the Vodafone Live! service.

In fact, during the year to March 31st, Vodafone saw a 60 per cent increase in revenues from non-messaging data services - with revenue from this sector rising from GBP 516 million to GBP 832 million.

According to mobile sector analyst Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis, around half of that figure is from corporate users - suggesting that users of Vodafone Live!, of whom there were some 34 million by the end of the reporting period, contributed about GBP 450 million in revenue.

Bubley breaks this down as ARPU of between GBP 1 and GBP 1.50 per month, although he points out that 3G users - of whom there were 7 million at the end of the reporting period - are probably turning in higher ARPUs than 2G handset users.

While it's only a drop in the ocean given Vodafone's wider problems, this growth bodes well for the mobile content industries, as it indicates that the firm's users are rapidly coming to grips with the concept of using the mobile phone as a content device as well as a messaging platform.

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