Following the R35-billion acquisition of a 34.94% stake in Kenya’s largest telecoms group Safaricom, JSE-listed telecommunications giant Vodacom plans to drive the development of its newly revamped M-Pesa platform.
Speaking at Vodacom’s interim results, in Midrand, on Monday, CEO Shameel Joosub noted that the new acquisition had boosted an otherwise lacklustre profit performance during the six months to September 30.
Underpinning the results were Safaricom’s contribution over the last two months of a profit of R349-million and a strong 10.8% expansion of Safaricom's customer base to 29.5-million customers, he said.
He highlighted the strong growth in both data and M-Pesa revenue, the latter of which generated 27% of service revenue, as data customers increased by 13.5% to 16.9-million customers and 30-day active M-Pesa customers increased by 9.5% to 19.3-million.
Going forward, Vodacom has prioritised three work streams to drive value across both businesses.
“We will be driving further development of M-Pesa across all markets, expanding our enterprise opportunity across East Africa, and driving big data initiatives across the two organisations,” Joosub said.
“We expect the Safaricom transaction will further drive M-Pesa development and penetration outside of South Africa.”
Vodacom’s new M-Pesa platform already had an immediate impact, resulting in a 70.9% increase in transactions and an average of R24-billion processed through the enhanced system on a monthly basis over the first half of the year.
Vodacom’s M-Pesa, excluding Safaricom, reported revenue growth of 14% and boasted a subscriber base of 14-million.
“Customer growth in all markets remains strong, with 56% of customers now using this service in Mozambique, 35.3% in Lesotho and 22.2% in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tanzania remains the leader in International operations with 61.7% of customers using M-Pesa,” Joosub concluded.