Vittorio Colao committed Vodafone to launching a consumer IoT product directly to its customer base next year, as the operator unveiled its latest financials.
The Chief Executive said Vodafone was looking currently at potential plays and would “definitely” bring a product to market in 2017, but did not expand on what or where such a service would launch.
The UK-based operator has 45.4 million “enterprise” IoT connections currently, up 39 percent year-on-year, which are largely centred around the automotive sector.
Vodafone does not count that sector as directly consumer facing as it is the car companies themselves that offer the services to drivers, rather than Vodafone.
IoT service of all flavours generated revenues of around €350 million in the six months to September, up 17.2 percent.
Colao said a dedicated consumer-focused unit was being set up as a “sister division” to Vodafone’s existing IoT business.
Although he said consumer IoT “could in theory be much bigger” than its enterprise equivalent, he warned it was much more fragmented.
Colao said: “We are so happy about what we have done in industrial IoT that we are moving into consumer IoT, which is much more fragmented but we have decided to be present in that segment as well.”
Colao also revealed that the much delayed TV service in the UK may not launch until the 2017/18 financial year.
The operator’s home market has had a difficult couple of months, notably as a result of the £4.6 million fine it received in October for “serious and sustained” breaches of consumer protection rules.
Sorting out these issues is more of a priority than launching TV, Vodafone Group CFO Nick Read said, as trials continue.
Service revenues in the UK fell 2.1 percent to €3.4 billion in the six months to September and, along with the Netherlands, were the only two European markets to register a decline.
Across its European footprint, revenues fell 0.5 percent on a comparable basis to €17.5 billion, mainly thanks to Germany, where service revenues were up 2.3 percent on the back of 200,000 new broadband subscribers.
All told, group revenues rose 1.8 percent to €27 billion on a comparable basis, but were down 3.9 percent on a reported basis.
EBITDA was up 4.3 percent on a comparable basis to €7.9 billion, but the operator made a net loss of €5 billion due to an impairment charge related to its business in India.
Colao said: “We have further improved our performance during the first half of the financial year with Europe modestly ahead of our expectations - led by Germany and Italy - and good execution in AMAP.
“Our substantial network investments and ‘more-for-more’ propositions have allowed us to capture opportunities from strong data demand, supporting European mobile contract ARPU and continued growth in emerging markets.
“As Europe’s fastest-growing broadband operator, we are driving rapid uptake of our consumer fixed and TV services while our wholly converged Enterprise business continues to outperform its peers.
“We are now translating faster revenue growth into margin expansion, supported by our focus on cost efficiency.