June 25, 2018

Vodacom adds 4.5m customers in South Africa

14 May 2018, 06:33 | Glen Norman

Vodacom adds 4.5m customers in South Africa

Vodacom adds 4.5m customers in South Africa

Significant investments totalling R11,6-billion expanded coverage and improved quality in the Vodacom networks - R8,9-billion of this investment was made in South Africa alone.

"This portfolio produced a 7.4% increase in normalised service revenue on the back of rising customer numbers, strong demand for data and the accelerated uptake of M-Pesa".

Group service revenue grew 3.4% to R70.6 billion (normalised: 5.1%).

Mobile data continued to be the biggest growth area for Vodacom, and the company increased data revenue in its South African operations by 12.8% to R23.4 billion over the past year. Net profit increased 18.6%, boosted by the Safaricom acquisition in Kenya and by the profit from the sale of Helios Towers Tanzania. But issuing 233.5-million new shares to United Kingdom parent Vodafone to pay for its 35% of Safaricom resulted in Vodacom's headline earnings per share (HEPS) remaining flat at R9.23.

Revenue grew by 8.1% to R70.0 billion, as a result of equipment revenue growth of 15.2%, underpinned by smart device sales - which now constitute 70.0% of total devices sold.

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"Prepaid customers increased 4.3-million, up 13.4%, supporting the 6.4% prepaid customer revenue growth", Joosub said.

Vodacom announced the purchase of a 35 percent stake in Nairobi-based Safaricom from its parent a year ago to expand its sub-Saharan African operations and mobile-money offering.

"ARPU was also impacted by changes in deal structures in the first half of the year, and a reduction of the out-of-bundle data rates in October 2017", said Joosub.

In its worldwide operations, both Mozambique and Lesotho performed strongly.

Safaricom added another 1.4-million customers during the year review. Safaricom contributed R1.5 billion in profit for the eight months since acquisition, after deducting the amortisation of fair valued assets and before minority interest, Vodacom said.

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Enterprise service up 10.8%, now contributing 25.7% of service revenue.

Faced with a strong domestic competition and pressure to cut high data cost, Vodacom says it has reduced out-of-bundle data prices and introduced more value offers on its contract plans.

During this period, the M-Pesa platform in worldwide operations, processed transactions worth $1.9 billion, generating a 19.6% increase in M-Pesa revenue to R2.3 billion.

The commission says the contract would entrench Vodacom's dominant position in the market, raise barriers to entry and expansion, distort competition in the market, and result in a loss of market share for other network operators. "Our operations benefit from stability in foreign exchange and macro-economic environments and this is expected to bring a greater degree of predictability to the results across our markets", Joosub concludes.

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