Vodacom Group declared an interim dividend of 380 cents per share and a special dividend of 60 cents per share. Photo: Bloomberg

CAPE TOWN – Vodacom Group added 2.7 million customers to its South Africa and International operations, as well as 2.7 million in Safaricom in the year to September, to serve a combined 115 million customers across the Group.

This was revealed in Vodacom’s annual results released on Monday where the Group reported a 3.9 percent increase in revenue compared with 2.5 percent the previous year, supported by Group service revenue growth of 4.2 percent from 2.5 percent.

Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group chief executive said following last year’s substantial investment in South Africa’s largest broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction in the telecommunication sector, this year Vodacom Group posted an 18.9 percent increase in headline earnings per share to 460c and returning a dividend of 440 cents per share to shareholders.

“In South Africa, an increase in data usage, following sustained efforts to reduce data prices and the onboarding of our new roaming partner in the second quarter, more than offset the service revenue decline reported in the first three months of the financial year. 

“On a like-for-like basis, this resulted in service revenue growth of 1.5 percent during the half-year, despite ongoing economic pressures and the implementation of the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations.

“Having announced sharp reductions in out-of-bundle tariffs by up to 70% in March, we continue to drive down the cost to communicate through various initiatives. These include the recent introduction of a Vodacom-branded 4G smart feature phone priced at just R299, and reducing the price of 1GB of data valid for 30 days from R149 to R99 for users of Vodapay and the MyVodacom App,” said Joosub.

South Africa service revenue grew 0.3 percent, supported by the turnaround to growth in the second quarter, as the reduction in out-of-bundle revenue was offset by improved data elasticity and the completion of the full onboarding of our new roaming partner.

International operations continued to perform well, delivering service revenue growth of 15.5 percent from 8.7 percent in the previous comparable period, with foreign currency translations boosting reported Group growth.

Earnings per share were up 19.4 percent and headline earnings per share was up 18.9 percent, due to the one-off BEE costs of R1.5 billion – including transaction costs – included in the prior period.

The Group declared an interim dividend of 380 cents per share and a special dividend of 60 cents per share.