Mobile money pioneer Safaricom reported a highly respectable 13 per cent revenue growth in the year to-end March 2015, thanks to the soaring contribution of non-voice service revenue including MPesa.
The Kenyan operator, in which Vodafone holds a 40 per cent stake, said MPesa revenue increased by 23 per cent to KES32.6 billion ($342 million), as total non-voice revenue powered ahead by 27 per cent to KES68.8 billion.
Total company revenue was KES163.4 billion. Revenue from Safaricom’s voice service, which grew a meagre four per cent, acted as a drag on mobile money, SMS and data services.
Another significant figure from the 2014/15 numbers was a 14 per cent increase in the 30 day active customer figure for MPesa, which now represents 60 per cent of the operator’s total base.
While clearly there is still headroom for converting its total base to mobile money, Safaricom is trying to upsell MPesa users to more sophisticated financial products.
To this end, the operator launched Lipa na MPesa, which enables cashless payments in shops and other locations. The service now has over 49,000 merchants on board (30-day active basis) who received KES11.6 billion in payments (end-March 2015 figures). The takeup of the service also improve Kenya’s financial inclusion, said CEO Bob Collymore (pictured).
MPesa now contributes 20 per cent of total Safaricom revenue, a far higher statistic than other peers and underscores why there have been so many attempts around the world to emulate its success.