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Vodafone committed to Australian JV

Reported by AAP
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
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Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited
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Vodafone has scotched rumours that it is looking to offload its Australian mobile phone joint venture.

The news came as the former head of Vodafone in Japan and the United Kingdom, Bill Morrow, was named as the new head of Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) on Wednesday.

Vodafone Group chief executive for Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Nick Read said Vodafone was "a hundred per cent committed" to its Australian joint-venture.

"Bringing in a chief executive of the calibre of Bill and given his experience in challenging markets I think is a demonstration of that commitment, along with over $1 billion that we have invested to date," Mr Read said.

"I think that looks like a very committed shareholder."

Recent media reports have suggested Vodafone was looking to offload its stake in VHA, with a preliminary information memorandum out in the market to test the appetite for a sale.

VHA is half owned by Vodafone plc and Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (HTA).

Mr Morrow, who replaces Nigel Dews, said he was aware of the need to improve Vodafone's Australian network and standing among customers.

"When the opportunity came up and the discussions began about the possibility of coming out here that was the first thing that I did some due diligence on," Mr Morrow said.

Mr Morrow said the integration of the two networks was "perhaps was not as good as it should have been".

However, he was confident that the $1 billion in spending would get coverage, speed and reliability up to a level demanded by customers.

"Clearly, that is our remit going forward, to be able to address those things and offer what I hope to be a very strong service here in the country," Mr Morrow said.

VHA operates the Vodafone and Three mobile brands in Australia.

In its latest accounts filed in February, VHA reported a seven per cent drop in mobile phone subscribers in the year to December 31, 2011, amid network faults and poor customer service.

This compared with a double-digit increase at Telstra and a five per cent improvement at Optus.

22/09/2014 04:10Sydney, Australia. 22 September,2014
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