Mobile phone operator Vodafone released its latest user figures yesterday which show the company has fallen into third place behind Orange and BT Cellnet in the UK.

Following the industry's new system whereby only active users, that is those who have used their mobile phone within the last three months, are counted towards market share, Vodafone recorded a customer base of 10.4 million compared to Orange's 11.9m and BT Cellnet's 10.89m.

"These results are really irrelevant," countered Vodafone spokesperson. "They give no real indication as to how much revenue we have taken or how many calls our users have made compared to say Orange's."

According to the FT Vodafone's shares have dropped from £14.80 in March to £14.15 in June, but despite this Vodafone is still making more money per customer than its competitors.

The results seem to show that although more people now own a mobile compared to last year, fewer calls are actually made.

"Figures have dropped across the board and these results show nothing unusual," said a spokesperson at Telco watchdog Oftel. "This more accurate and concise recording that operators have now adopted will show a much clearer picture of the market."