Vo­da­com has added 2.5m more cus­tomers

Sub­scribers surge to 39m

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Ka­belo Khumalo

LISTED tele­coms giant Vo­da­com, buoyed by the re­cent ac­qui­si­tion of Kenyan mo­bile op­er­a­tor Sa­fari­com for R35 bil­lion, has set its sights on grow­ing its foot­print in the rest of Africa as its home mar­ket sub­scriber num­ber surged by 2.3 mil­lion to 39mil­lion in the quar­ter to June.

In to­tal the group added 2.5 mil­lion cus­tomers in the pe­riod, 280 000 in its in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions to reach a to­tal cus­tomer base of more than 70 mil­lion across the group.

Shameel Joosub, Vo­da­com Group chief ex­ec­u­tive, said al­though its in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions had turned the cor­ner, cur­rency volatil­ity was still neg­a­tively im­pact­ing the trans­la­tion of its re­sults.

“We now have 30 mil­lion cus­tomers out­side of South Africa, an in­crease of 12 per­cent. Fol­low­ing the share­holder ap­proval of the ac­qui­si­tion of a stake in Sa­fari­com on July 18, this will fur­ther boost con­tri­bu­tion out­side of South Africa,” Joosub said.

Ear­lier this week the com­pany said its mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers had ap­proved its deal to ac­quire 34.9 per­cent of Sa­fari­com in a trans­ac­tion that would see Voda­fone in­crease its in­ter­est in the Vo­da­com Group to 69.6 per­cent.

Sa­fari­com pro­vides a range of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices, in­clud­ing mo­bile and fixed voice, SMS, data, the in­ter­net and mo­bile money (M-Pesa) to more than 28.1mil­lion cus­tomers. Its M-Pesa ser­vice reaches more than 19 mil­lion cus­tomers.

The com­pany said yes­ter­day that its deal with Sa­fari­com was ex­pected to be ef­fec­tive from the be­gin­ning of next month. It can­celled the M-Pesa of­fer­ing in South Africa last year af­ter the ser­vice proved to be un­pop­u­lar with cus­tomers, but said the ser­vice con­tin­ued to make at­trac­tion in its other African mar­kets.

The group’s M-Pesa in­ter­na­tional of­fer­ings rev­enue in­creased 7.4 per­cent, with nor­malised growth of 24.9 per­cent. It at­trib­uted this growth to the ad­di­tion of 350 000 new cus­tomers in the quar­ter to reach a to­tal of 13.3 mil­lion cus­tomers.

Joosub said the com­pany would con­tinue to en­hance its ser­vice and prod­uct eco-sys­tems and de­velop in­no­va­tive prod­ucts to im­prove cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. “In Tan­za­nia, 1 mil­lion cus­tomers are us­ing our suc­cess­ful M-Pawa sav­ings and loans prod­uct, de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with the Com­mer­cial Bank of Africa.

“There has also been a steady up­take of our In­ter­na­tional Money Trans­fer ser­vices. Dur­ing the quar­ter, on av­er­age, R22bn was pro­cessed monthly through the M-Pesa sys­tem.”

In the quar­ter un­der re­view, the group’s rev­enue grew 3.9 per­cent to R20.7bn, while its ser­vice rev­enue grew 1.7 per­cent to R17.1bn.

It said its South African rev­enue growth ac­cel­er­ated to 7.8per­cent in the pe­riod, sup­ported by stronger de­vice sales. How­ever, the in­ter­na­tional rev­enue de­clined 8.2 per­cent and ser­vice rev­enue de­clined 8 per­cent, while nor­malised for cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tions, rev­enue and ser­vice rev­enue in­creased 8 per­cent in the pe­riod un­der re­view.

The group sold 553mil­lion pre­paid and con­tract bun­dles in the quar­ter, up 68.3 per­cent, with the num­ber of bun­dle users in­creas­ing by 25.7 per­cent to 17.8 mil­lion. Its South African data rev­enue grew 18.1 per­cent to R5.5bn, con­tribut­ing 42.2 per­cent of the group’s to­tal ser­vice rev­enue in the pe­riod.

It said it added 463 000 4G cus­tomers in the quar­ter, reach­ing a to­tal of 5.5mil­lion cus­tomers as de­vices be­came more af­ford­able.

Data rev­enue from its in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions grew by 2.2 per­cent, with nor­malised growth of 18.9 per­cent, sup­ported by an in­crease of 810000 data cus­tomers, up to 13.8mil­lion, while data traf­fic grew 87 per­cent. Data rev­enue com­prised 27.1 per­cent of in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions’ ser­vice rev­enue.

Joosub said the com­pany would con­tinue to make sub­stan­tial in­vest­ments in all its op­er­a­tions so that it main­tained its net­work lead and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy ad­van­tage

“We re­main cog­nisant of the weaker eco­nomic con­di­tions that pre­vail in South Africa as well as some of our larger mar­kets and have put mea­sures in place should these con­di­tions de­te­ri­o­rate ma­te­ri­ally in these mar­kets.”

PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The head­quar­ters of Vo­da­com Group in Jo­han­nes­burg. The group wants to grow in the rest of Africa.

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