Vodacom on Monday (11 November) reported a 9.7% rise in group active customers to 53.8 million for the six months ended September 2013, with revenue also up 6.6%, driven by data revenue growth of 29%.
Vodacom pointed to net connections of 949,000 active customers for South Africa and 2.3 million in its international operations for the six months period.
It highlighted an 11.5% rise in operating profit for the six months ended 30 September 2013, from R9 billion in 2012.
Revenue climbed 6.6% to R36.7 billion, from R34.4 billion in 2012, while headline earnings per share was up 10.9% to 439 cents as a result of strong operating profit growth, Vodacom said.
The group’s capital expenditure for the period was R4.850 billion, 2.9% higher than in the prior year.
Vodacom announced an interim dividend per share of 395 cents.
Revenue increased 6% to R30.1 billion driven by a 41.2% growth in equipment revenue from smartphone and tablet sales.
EBITDA grew 5.9% to R11.421 billion with a margin of 37.9%.
Active data customers grew 13.4% to 15.1 million, while service revenue growth trends stabilised in the period, an improvement following declines in prior quarters.
Data revenue increased 20.6% to R5.1 billion, contributing 21.5% (2012: 17.8%) to service revenue.
Focus on handset financing to drive smartphone penetration has led to a 24% growth of these devices, with 6.6 million now active on Vodacom’s network.
The average monthly usage has also increased 78.9% to 220MB, Vodacom said.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO said: “In South Africa, we invested R3.1 billion in the network during the period and increased 3G coverage to 88.9% of the population.”
“When looking at changes to mobile termination rates, we are hopeful that the regulator will consider the crucial role that continued investment plays in facilitating further price reductions.”
“In our international operations, our customer base increased 22.4% to 23.7 million. Data revenues in these operations increased 100.6%. This was driven by a 41% increase in the number of active data customers.”
“Our International operations now account for 21.6% of group service revenue, increasing from 19% a year ago,” Joosub said.
“Driven by lower handset prices and reduced data costs, smartphone adoption is growing rapidly across all of our operations. In South Africa, average data usage per smartphone increased 79% and for the group, data traffic is more than 80% higher than a year ago.”
“To cater for continued growth, we plan to accelerate network investment and we are currently in the process of determining the investment allocation per country.”