SA data demand helps to boost Vodacom income to almost R100bn

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On Tuesday, Vodacom reported an 8% increase in its group revenue, which rose to R98.3 billion for the year to end-March.

Pushed into making major price cuts by the Competition Commission, Vodacom lowered some of its tariffs by up to 40% last year. But thanks to an insatiable demand for data, it still managed to grow its service revenue by 7%. The company says that a demand for its financial services also bolstered its local income.

Its international operations – including Tanzania, Lesotho, the DRC and Mozambique - reported more muted service revenue growth of 1.6%.

"This performance was characterised by disruption to our commercial activities as a result of the informal structure of the economies in which we operate, currency volatility, increased pressure on consumer spend, free M-Pesa P2P transactions and the impact of service barring in Tanzania due to biometric registration compliance," Vodacom said in a statement.

Vodacom added 8.2 million customers over the past year, to serve a combined 123.7 million customers across the Group, including Kenyan mobile group Safaricom.

Its total financial services customers, including Safaricom, up 12.9% or 6.6 million to 57.7 million.

Vodacom reported a 3.7% increase in its headline earnings, with a final dividend of 410c per share.

The company added that its medium-term operating profit growth target has been "upgraded from mid-single digit to mid-to-high-single digit", on improved growth prospects for its international businesses, including Safaricom.

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