South Africa’s Vodacom Group has published its financial results for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2015 (FY2014/15), reporting a 2.1% year-on-year increase in revenues to SAR77.333 billion (USD6.53 billion), up from SAR75.711 billion reported in FY13/14. In the period under review, service revenue increased marginally by 0.2% to SAR62.167 billion, mainly due to one-off adjustments of ZAR325 million relating to a change in the accounting estimate of un-recharged vouchers reported in the first half of the fiscal year and ZAR164 million due to the consolidation of XLink, which were partly offset by the impact of 50% decline in mobile termination rates (MTRs) in South Africa. EBITDA for the twelve-month period meanwhile reached ZAR26.905 billion, a 1.5% decrease y-o-y on the ZAR27.314 billion reported in FY13/14.
In operating terms, the group added more than four million net new users over the past twelve months to take its total subscriber base to 61.6 million, which includes 32.115 million in its domestic market – up 1.9% year-on-year – and 29.533 million across its international markets: Tanzania (12.172 million), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, 11.216 million), Mozambique (4.877 million) and Lesotho (1.268 million). Further, Vodacom said that it now has 2,600 Long Term Evolution (LTE)-enabled sites in its domestic market, while the number of base transceiver stations (BTS) capable of supporting 3G technology increased by 1,554. Vodacom pointed out that 81.3% of the BTS are connected to its ‘self-provided high capacity transmission network’ and that it has completed a Radio Access Network (RAN) upgrade programme.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO, added: ‘The key highlights of our story for the year were network investment, data growth, and pricing transformation. This played out against a tough backdrop. In South Africa we faced major cuts in MTRs, a weak economic environment, exchange rate volatility and increased price competition. In Tanzania and the DRC, pricing pressure impacted our performance. Despite these challenging conditions, we increased the group customer base by 7.2% to 61.6 million and grew revenue by 2.1% to ZAR77.3 billion. Our focus on network investment is the key enabler behind the increasing contribution that data is making to service revenue. We lifted group capital expenditure 23.4% to ZAR13.3 billion, adding another 2,576 3G sites across the group and more than doubling our 4G/LTE sites to 2,610. In South Africa, 3G coverage was extended to 95.6% of the population.’