Viewpoint | 12 May 2020

How Vodafone UK has laid the foundations for future success

As Vodafone Group releases its full-year results, Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK, reflects on a successful year for the UK business as it completes its three-year turn-around journey. What does the future hold?

We announced our 2019/20 financial results earlier today, and I’m pleased to share that it’s been a strong year for Vodafone UK.

This was the third year of our three-year turn-around journey to put this company back where it belongs – and all our hard work is continuing to pay off.

By investing in our network, focusing on providing better service to our customers, rigorously reducing costs, and simplifying and automating many of our processes, we’ve made our company fit for the future.

And this was why we were robust enough to cope with the current coronavirus pandemic – and why will be able to cope with any other crises that may come our way.

Keeping the UK connected

Despite internet traffic increasing 30% during the lockdown period and voice calls rising 50%, our network has coped brilliantly. We’ve been able to keep the UK connected at a time when the country needed us the most.

We responded magnificently in a crisis, transforming Vodafone UK into a ‘working from home’ company in just a few weeks while maintaining good customer service levels and operational performance. We’ve provided connectivity to hospitals up and down the country, including the temporary COVID-19 Nightingale hospitals.

Because Vodafone UK is now financially and operationally strong, we’ve been able to offer our fantastic NHS and care home workers six months’ free unlimited data. We’ve been able to extend the same offer to our vulnerable customers, too, putting our spare network capacity to good use at a time when the UK needs it the most.

It’s a privilege to lead a company demonstrating such spirit, resilience and compassion for others.

Clear strategy, strong growth

But we couldn’t have achieved all of this if we weren’t in good shape financially. You can read all the details of our results in the Group press release here, but these are the UK headlines:

  • underlying service revenue growth has accelerated;
  • we’ve consistently out-performed the market in Consumer and Business, Mobile and Fixed;
  • Business has delivered revenue growth for the first time since the Cable & Wireless acquisition back in 2012;
  • profit and cash flow have grown strongly.

Our sustained focus on a clear strategy over the last three years has enabled us to continue improving our networks and rolling out 5G, where we’ve been leading the market with more sites in the UK and internationally than any of our competitors.

It has enabled us to offer our customers ground-breaking offers, from unlimited data to best-in-class SIM-only deals. It has given us the impetus to help conceive and deliver the Shared Rural Network, working closely with our network operator partners and government. Our brand image has been refreshed and re-energised. We’re out-performing the market in nearly every metric.

And our customers are beginning to notice the difference – better customer service, simpler billing, a faster more reliable network, and innovative products – have led to improved ratings, or Net Promoter Scores.

But we know there’s much more we need to do. We’re only half way on this journey. So what does the future hold?

Accelerating into the future   

Our three-year turnaround strategy has worked: we’ve laid the foundations for future success. For the next three years I want us to focus on acceleration: accelerating improvement in our customer experience; accelerating our digital transformation; accelerating our operational speed and the simplification of our processes.

In short, we’re going to continue putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. We want to become a company our customers love, not just like.

But we can’t shy away from the fact that the coronavirus pandemic – and the social isolation measures the government took to combat it – could have an impact on the UK economy and affect our plans.

The good news is that we’re in a much better position now than we were three years ago. We’re more agile, more innovative, more responsive. We will weather any economic headwinds ahead and take the fight to the competition with all the energy we have.

So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers – businesses, consumers, government departments – for your loyalty and trust. You can feel confident that in us you have a strong, reliable partner who can help you achieve your ambitions and fulfil your potential.

And I would like to thank all our team. Without your ‘can-do’ attitude, skill, persistence and good will over the last three years – and over these last few months in particular – we couldn’t have achieved all that we have or helped as many people as we have.

You are what makes this such a great company that I am so proud to lead.