Vodacom’s two biggest subsidiaries outside SA, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have dragged down the group’s quarterly results, with international normalised revenues, excluding the effects of currency changes, declining by 6,3%. However, the performance was offset by stronger results in its key market of SA, as well as good numbers from Mozambique and Lesotho.
The decline in international revenue was “largely due to promotions aimed at improving competitiveness in the key markets, coupled with continued economic pressures”, Vodacom says in its quarterly trading statement for the three months to 31 December 2009. “In local currencies, the Tanzania and DRC service revenue decline stabilised, while growth in Mozambique and Lesotho remained strong. Assertive steps taken during the quarter have improved the relative market performance, particularly in Tanzania and the DRC.”
In the DRC, subscribers fell 12,9% year on year and 20% sequentially, but this was due to a change in the DRC disconnection policy from 215 inactive days to 90, according to Vodacom. The group is still in dispute with its 49% shareholder in the DRC, Congolese Wireless Network (CWN). Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys says the group will meet with CWN shareholders in the next few weeks in an attempt to resolve the issue.
The relative strength of the rand meant international revenues slumped by 33,4% to R1,4bn. However, a robust performance from the SA operation, which grew revenues by 7,5% to R13,4bn, helped offset this. Data revenue in SA grew by 35,2%, with broadband customers up 48,8%.
In total, Vodacom now has 40,5m subscribers. About 27m of these are in SA. New regulations requiring consumers to provide ID and proof of residence when buying Sim cards resulted in a decline in SA prepaid customers — down 5,4% sequentially — but contract subscribers rose by 4,6%. — Staff reporter, TechCentral