Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub (pictured) hailed an increase in data usage in South Africa and improved revenue from international operations, as the company booked profit growth in its fiscal H1.

During the six months to end-September net profit jumped 19 per cent year-on-year to ZAR8.2 billion ($550.4 million), though this growth rate was flattered by the company taking a ZAR1.5 billion hit during its fiscal H1 2018 to partly fund a massive share sale scheme.

Revenue increased 3.9 per cent to ZAR44.4 billion, attributed to increased data usage in South Africa, improved earnings in international markets and positive foreign exchange movements. Its reported figures also reflect a change in accounting standards effective from April.

In a statement, Joosub said data usage at the unit accelerated during its fiscal Q2, offsetting a decline in service revenue in fiscal Q1 despite “ongoing economic pressures” and new regulations taking effect in the country.

The growth in data services follows a period where Vodacom regularly cut the cost of its data packages and implemented several promotions.

Financial services
Joosub also pointed to the success of its strategy of diversifying revenue streams by selling additional services, stating the initiative was “quickly gathering momentum”.

In H1 its South Africa financial services unit, which covers Mastercard-powered digital wallet VodaPay, airtime loans and insurance services booked a revenue boost of 37 per cent to ZAR972 million.

Revenue from mobile money services under the m-Pesa brand in its international markets, excluding Kenya, increased 29 per cent to ZAR1.9 billion. In these markets, 39 per cent of its mobile customers used the service with 14.3 million users on the platform by end-September.

Its Kenya-based Safaricom operation booked an 18 per cent increase in revenue from its mobile money unit, with 23.6 million customers by the end of the period, a 12.4 per cent increase.