Vodacom expects data growth spurt

Vodacom Group CEO, Shameel Joosub says he expects data revenue to account for up to 30% of total revenue within the next three years, driven by the operator’s South African operations.

On Monday (20 May), the group reported a marginal increase in service revenue for the year ended March 2013 to R59.33 billion, from R58.245 billion in the prior period.

By 12h45 on Monday, Vodacom’s shares were trading at R113.19, down 2.27% on the JSE.

Operating profit increased 13.7% to R18.897 billion, from R16.617 billion, while headline earnings per share (HEPS) was up 23% to R8.72.

Vodacom delivered a final dividend per share of 430 cents; with total dividends per share for the year of 785 cents, up 10.6%.

In South Africa, active customers were up 4.9% to 30.3 million, increasing by 1.4 million customers in the year.

Data revenue in its principle country of operation increased 16.3% to R8.88 billion, contributing 18.4% to service revenue compared to 15.8% a year ago.

Joosub said he expects data revenue to account for 30%-plus of total service revenue by 2016.

“Fourth quarter data revenue growth was above 20% as we focused on accelerating take-up of data services with new promotions. Data traffic grew 39.5% which more than offset a 17.9% reduction in the average effective price per megabyte (MB),” Joosub said.

Growth, he pointed out, was driven by higher penetration of smartphones and increased mobile internet usage.

“We have made a considerable investment in working capital to drive affordability of smartphones and tablets through handset financing, with an additional 1.2 million smartphones now active on our network.”

“This brought the total number of smartphones to 6.0 million, up 26% and average monthly usage increased 43.4% to 139MB. We now have 14.4 million active data customers, up 18.1%,” he said.

Vodacom’s head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa while the group also has operation networks in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho.

For its international oprations, Vodacom reported an 11% increase in service revenue to R11.26 billion.

Active data customers internationally, improved 40.9% to 4.1 million.
Data revenue grew 106.9% supported by 40.9% growth in active data customers to 4.1 million, 19.3% of the customer base, it said.

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Vodacom expects data growth spurt