Vodacom said capital expenditure (Capex) reached R13.218 billion (+2 percent), representing 14.6 percent of revenue.
“This is slightly outside of our guidance range as we pulled forward some capital expenditure to prepare the network for increased data traffic during the lockdown in South Africa as well as investment in batteries across the network,” Vodacom CEO Shameel Aziz Joosub said.
In South Africa, capital expenditure was directed at modernising the network and enhancing IT system to cater for a diversified range of products and support. Vodacom has 95.4 percent 4G population coverage vs 90.4 percent in 2019.
The focus of International operations remained on increasing both coverage and capacity as well as increasing the 4G rollout. Vodacom added 452 2G sites, 546 3G sites and 1,079 4G sites since March 2019. Vodacom also made investment our transmission networks to retain network lead in all markets.
Safaricom’s capital expenditure was R5.213 billion.
Vodacom Group service revenue grew 3.3 percent to €2.088 billion during the fiscal 2019-20.
For comparison, Germany is the largest telecom market for Vodafone with revenue touching €12.076 billion (+16.2 percent). Vodacom UK generated revenue of €6.484 billion (+3.4 percent). Vodacom Italy generated revenue of €5.529 billion (–5.6 percent). Vodacom Spain generated revenue of €4.296 billion (–8 percent).
Vodacom said it added 5.9 million customers, to serve a combined 116 million customers across the Group.
Vodacom said South Africa service revenue increased 2.2 percent. Data traffic grew 66 percent as customers benefited from improved pricing. Vodacom on 1 April reduced monthly data bundle prices by up to 40 percent after reaching an agreement with the Competition Commission in relation to the Data Services Market Inquiry.
Vodacom has added 246,000 contract customers in the year, but lost 1.9 million prepaid customers as it focused on customer lifetime value, taking total mobile customer base to 45.1 million.
Vodacom’s international operations outside of South Africa grew by 7.5 percent during the quarter, supported by the demand for mobile data and M-Pesa services. Vodacom was forced to bar mobile services to 2.9 million customers since January 2020, out of a total customer base of 15.5 million, in line with a government biometric registration deadline.