Home South African Vodacom plans to invest billions to boost its SA network

Vodacom plans to invest billions to boost its SA network

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Vodacom on Monday announced plans to inject more than R10.5 billion to bolster its South African network in the current financial year.

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VODACOM on Monday announced plans to inject more than R10.5 billion to bolster its South African network in the current financial year.

Speaking during the release of the group’s financial results for the six months ended September, chief executive Shameel Joosub said the capex injection was on top of the R47bn the company had spent over the past five years in the domestic market.

“This is particularly relevant at a time when many of our customers continue to work, entertain and educate from home,” Joosub said.

Earlier this month, rival MTN announced R31.1bn in capex guidance for 2021, saying spending was driven by an accelerated roll-out in MTN SA and MTN Nigeria to “capture growth opportunities from explosive data traffic that we are experiencing”.

Vodacom, a Vodafone subsidiary, said its South Africa market added 1.1 million data customers during the half-year ended September and posted a 3.6 percent growth in service revenue during the period under review on the back of strong connectivity demand.

“This was an impressive result given the demanding comparative associated with lockdowns in the prior period,” Joosub said.

Vodacom, which has welcomed the granting of provisional spectrum by South African authorities, said that at a group level it now serviced 129.9 million customers, including Safaricom, a gain of 6.2 million customers. The group said it generated revenue of R49.9bn, up by 4.2 percent compared to a year ago, and said strong normalised growth of 7.9 percent was partially offset by rand appreciation.

The group’s financial services offering also continued to grow, and M-Pesa platform, the money transfer service, processed over $300bn (R4.56 trillion) of transaction valuation since last year, said Vodacom.

“Financial services is a clear strategic differentiator for the Group and is integral to our purpose-led business model. Our M-Pesa platform, including Safaricom on a 100 percent basis, processed $26.8 billion of transaction value per month in the second quarter, up 31.2 percent. And, over the last twelve months, we have processed an impressive $301.9 billion of transaction valuation through our M-Pesa platform,” said Joosub.

Vodacom’s expansion strategy is in full force, and it last week announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Vodafone Egypt, the biggest mobile operator in the north African country.

The group said it would also acquire a 30 percent stake in South Africa’s leading fibre business, the Community Investment Ventures Holdings. The group said it has an option to increase the stake to 40 percent.

Vodacom’s dividend per share was 420 cents, up 1.2 percent compared with a year earlier, it said.

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