November 17, 2017

South Africa's Vodacom half-year earnings inch up 1 percent

13 November 2017, 07:39 | Edward Lowe

Logo of Vodafone

Logo of Vodafone

The acquisition of a 34.9% stake in Safaricom in the period contributed to a ZAR349 million profit during the first two months, it said.

Vodacom's global operations added 1.4 million customers in the first half, reaching 31.1 million, up 11.4 percent.

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

Vodacom has reported strong revenue growth for the interim period ending 30 September 2017, showing growth of 4.6% to R42.0 billion. The increased revenue was attributable to customer gains in South Africa and the increased use of data and microfinancing service M-Pesa internationally.

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"The sale of smartphones grew by 18.3%, comprising 59.5% of total device sales", the report read.

Total bundles sold increased 64.8% to nearly 1.1bn. Voice revenue declined by 4.8%. The group added 356 000 data users, bringing total data customers to 19.9 million. 4G customers increased 62.8% to 6m, while the average monthly data usage on smart devices increased 19.5% to 776MB.

Joosub added that the group had delivered on its promises to reduce data prices and addressing out-of-bundle prices. Improved in-bundle usage has resulted in a 24.2% reduction in the effective price per megabyte, it said. "Over the six month period, we invested R3.9 billion to maintain our network lead and enhance our IT systems".

The cost of its new roaming agreement with WBS (Rain). "Without new spectrum, we are forced to build more base stations to meet data growth demand".

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"Additional spectrum will allow us to invest more efficiently and accelerate our rural coverage programme".

The active customer base rose 11.8%, or 4.3-million, to 71-million across the group.

"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. "As leading mobile network provider in South Africa, with the best 3G and 4G networks, it was crucial for us to partner a formidable player such as Nokia as we're gearing ourselves for the next generation of wireless networks, 5G", Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport said in a statement. Vodacom acquired 34.9% of Kenya's Safaricom from parent Vodacom during the period.

Net profit increased 7.0 percent to ZAR 6.71 billion compared with ZAR 6.27 billion in 2016, boosted by the Safaricom acquisition.

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Regarding its worldwide operations, exchange rate volatility negatively impacted growth.

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