Vodacom hits 40 million for the first time

Vodacom data revenue tops voice for first time

Vodacom data revenue tops voice for first time

The South Africa-based telecommunications company posted a net profit of 6.85 billion rand ($476.1 million) for the six months ended September 30, compared with ZAR6.44 billion a year earlier.

In worldwide operations, the group said it normalised growth trends.

Headline earnings per share was up 1.1% to 445c and an interim dividend of 390c per share was declared.

Group service revenue rose two per cent to 34.7 billion rand (1.84 billion pounds), while group revenue increased 4.6 per cent to 42 billion rand.

Regarding its operations in South Africa, the group's service revenue increased 4.7% to R26.7bn, boosted by "stronger customer gains" and growth in its data and enterprise services.

"We now also have 3.3 million sim card connections in our Internet of Things offerings", said Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub.

In addition to increasing data network speeds and improving data coverage, the group said it retained a strong focus on providing customers with access to better, low-priced smart devices, by promoting Vodacom-branded devices. Service revenue growth was further underpinned by strong normalised growth in both data and M-Pesa revenue. The sale of smartphones grew by 18.3%, comprising 59.5% of total device sales in the South African operation.

Contract customers increased by 107,000 in the time period, up to 5.2 million. Migration to the new "more data" contracts, which have a larger data allocation, accelerated to 25% of the base.

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Total bundles sold increased 64.8% to nearly 1.1bn. Voice revenue declined by 4.8%. M-Pesa added 1.1 million customers in the first half of the year, reaching 14.8 million. 4G customers on its network increased 62.8% to 6.0 million, while the average monthly data usage on smart devices increased 19.5% to 776MB. Data bundle sales grew by 55.5% to 347m.

"These are promises that we have delivered on, with effective data prices decreased by 24.2% during the six-month period".

Vodacom invested R3.9bn in its network and IT systems in South Africa in the six-month period.

"Our continued investment in infrastructure resulted in 76.7% 4G and 99.3% 3G population coverage, compared with 68.7% 4G coverage a year ago".

Vodacom and its peers have blamed the lack of spectrum for high expenditure costs as well as difficulty in expanding their networks in rural areas. "Without new spectrum, we are forced to build more base stations to meet data growth demand".

It added 1.4 million customers in its global markets, an increase of 11.4 per cent.

"The success of M-Pesa in all markets has resulted in savings in commission as more airtime is purchased directly, thereby eliminating third party commissions", Vodacom said.

"We will be driving further development of M-Pesa across all markets", added Vodacom.

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