Vodacom noted a “strong start to the year”, with growth in both its home and international operations driven by customer gains and increasing data usage.

For the six months, the South Africa-based company reported a net profit of ZAR6.46 billion ($425.94 million), up 4.4 per cent year-on-year, on revenue of ZAR39.96 billion, up 6.4 per cent. Service revenue of ZAR32.24 billion was up 4.9 per cent.

It ended the period with 65.1 million active customers.

In its home market, service revenue increased by 2.9 per cent to ZAR24.11 billion “as the business returned to growth”, with factors cited including customer additions, ARPU stabilisation, and higher data usage.

The company ended the period with 33.7 million customers in South Africa, having added 1.6 million in the first half.

Data revenue increased 33.4 per cent to ZAR8.27 billion, “due to exceptional growth in the demand for data”. The improved affordability of both devices and data bundles supported a 48 per cent increase in data traffic.

For its international operations, service revenue increased by 12.4 per cent to ZAR8.28 billion, with the company citing “growth in all markets”.

Some 1.8 million customers were added during the period, taking the total to 31.4 million.

Data revenue increased by 34.3 per cent to ZAR1.87 billion, driven by an increase in active users.

Looking ahead
Joosub said that “there are good opportunities ahead of us”, noting that only 66 per cent of its monthly active customers in South Africa are using data services, and its share in fixed services is “only a fraction” of its mobile presence.

The company noted in a statement: “Our markets continued to be highly competitive, and regulatory and macroeconomic risks remain. However, we are confident that our network and customer experience investments will differentiate us and translate into customer growth and higher usage.”

Growth on an EBITDA level will also slow in the second half of the year, due to infrastructure and content investments, a stronger year-ago comparative period following efficiency efforts, and a further reduction in termination rates.

Joosub said: “In the second half, we plan to invest more into fibre and other new growth areas by building the right capability to ensure we sustain growth into the next year.”