Our segment performance

  • South Africa

    South Africa delivered a robust performance, despite ongoing data pricing transformation and a low economic growth environment. Service revenue increased 4.9% to R54.6 billion, supported by strong customer additions, a higher contribution from data revenue and growth in Enterprise services. Revenue grew strongly by 8.1% to R70.0 billion, as a result of equipment revenue growth of 15.2%, underpinned by smart device sales which constitute 70.0% of total devices sold, in line with our strategy of driving the uptake of smart devices.

  • International

    Service revenue increased by 0.3%, with strong normalised growth of 7.4%* to R16.8 billion with pleasing growth in our strategic focus areas of data and M-Pesa. Reported numbers have been impacted by the strengthening of the rand against each country‚Äôs currency.

South Africa

Our segment performance South Africa

We continue to see positive outcomes from our segmented acquisition strategy. Our Youth proposition, NXT LVL, has now attracted over 3.3 million new and existing Youth customers. The expansion of our new Siyakha platform is helping improve the lives of customers, through products such as zero-rated career portals, Facebook flex, free health information for expectant mothers and prepaid funeral cover. These propositions, supported by personalised value offers through our 'Just 4 You' platform have seen us attracting 4.5 million new customers this year, closing at 41.6 million, up 12.1%. Prepaid customers increased 4.3 million, up 13.4%, supporting the 6.4% prepaid customer revenue growth. We added 229 000 contract customers. Progress on our pricing transformation strategy has resulted in short-term pressure on contract ARPU, which declined 4.4% to R390. This was as a result of higher roll over of unused data bundles as we continue to migrate customers to 'more value' contracts, with 43.4% of the base now signed up for these contracts. ARPU was also impacted by changes in deal structures in the first half of the year, and a reduction of the out-of-bundle data rates in October 2017.

Our industry leading application of Big Data and machine learning, created to deliver personalised bundle offers based on customer behaviour, continues to differentiate us from our competitors. Through our 'Just 4 You' platform we have accelerated the uptake of bundle offers, driving the sale of 2.3 billion bundles in the year, up 51.3%. Of these, 62.2% of bundle purchases are made through the platform. Customers using bundles have grown 13.9% to 18.7 million.

Data revenue grew strongly at 12.8% to R23.4 billion, contributing 42.8% of service revenue. This represents strong growth as we transform pricing for customers by reducing out-of-bundle spend. This was achieved by improving customer data usage notifications, reducing of out-of-bundle rates by as much as 50%, and introducing more value offers on our contract plans. In the second half, 12% of data revenue was out-of-bundle revenue, down from 22% in the first half of last year. Data traffic growth remains robust at 43.7%. This was enabled through growing our data network coverage and capacity, as well as focusing our device strategy on increasing 3G and 4G device uptake. 4G customers on our network increased 44.8% to 7.3 million, while the average megabyte per smart device increased 18.4% to 784 MB. Our bundle strategy continues to resound well with our customers, who have a choice of buying appropriate bundles based on validity period or size to suit their needs. Data bundle purchases increased 54.7% to 766 million. Improved in-bundle usage and reduction in out-of-bundle prices has helped us to reduce the overall effective price per megabyte by 21.6% this year.

Enterprise service revenue grew 10.8%, now contributing 25.7% of service revenue. Mobile Enterprise customer revenue was flat, as the upgrade cycle on the government tender awarded to Vodacom in October 2016 progressed well, while new sign-ups to compensate for the greater discount were slower than originally anticipated. We expect this trend to improve in the year ahead. Service revenue growth from fixed services increased 55.6%, driven by the inclusion of wholesale transit revenue (a new low margin business), connectivity revenue and Cloud and Hosting services.

EBITDA grew 4.7% to R28.1 billion and delivered a margin of 40.1%. We have contained inflationary pressures on operating expenses, through cost-saving initiatives under our 'Fit for growth' programme, maintaining total operating expense growth of 2.1%, which is 2.8ppts below service revenue growth. EBITDA margins have, however, contracted 1.3ppts, impacted by the roaming agreement with Rain diluting margins by 0.7ppts, as we move cost of capacity to direct expenses from depreciation; the increased contribution from lower margin handset sales has impacted margin by 0.8ppts. EBIT growth of 2.6% was below EBITDA growth as a result of higher growth in depreciation and amortisation costs, in line with our capital expenditure guidance to deliver our network leadership position.

Our capital expenditure of R8.9 billion was focused on widening our network coverage, improving network performance to support increased data demand and enhancing overall customer experience. Significant investment was made in our IT systems with deep machine learning capabilities aimed at providing a seamless and personalised customer experience, enabling us to deliver on our strategic ambition of being the leading digital telco in South Africa. We have extended our 3G population coverage to 99.4% and 4G coverage to 80.1%, up from 75.8% a year ago. Vodacom is now the first African operator to extend 4G coverage to more than 80% of its population.

   Year ended 31 March     % change    
South Africa  2018     2017     2017/2018    
Service revenue (Rm) 54 622     52 071     4.9    
Revenue (Rm) 69 967     64 729     8.1    
EBITDA (Rm) 28 088     26 815     4.7    
EBIT (Rm) 21 124     20 593     2.6    
Data revenue (Rm) 23 355     20 696     12.8    
Capital expenditure (Rm) 8 884     8 471     4.9    
Customers 1 (thousand) 41 635     37 131     12.1    
Prepaid customers (thousand) 36 275     32 000     13.4    
Contract customers (thousand) 5 360     5 131     4.5    
Data customers 2 (thousand) 20 347     19 549     4.1    
IoT connections 3 (thousand) 3 628     2 979     21.8    
Total ARPU 5 (rand per month) 101     111     (9.0)   
Prepaid ARPU (rand per month) 58     62     (6.5)   
Contract ARPU (rand per month) 390     408     (4.4)   
Number of employees  5 007     5 038     (0.6)   
NPS (position relative to competitors) 1st     1st    
Service revenue market share (%) #1  50.5      51.0    
  • Customers are based on the total number of mobile customers using any service during the last three months. This includes customers paying a monthly fee that entitles them to use the service even if they do not actually use the service and those customers who are active while roaming.
  • Data customers are based on the number of unique users generating billable data traffic during the month. Also included are users on integrated tariff plans, or who have access to corporate APNs, and users who have been allocated a revenue generating data bundle during the month. A user is defined as being active if they are paying a contractual monthly fee for this service or have used the service during the reported month.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) connections, is the remote wireless interchange between two or more predefined devices or a central station without direct relationship with an end customer, in order to support a specific business process or product.
  • Minutes of use (MOU) per month is calculated by dividing the average monthly minutes (traffic) during the period by the average monthly customers during the period
  • Total ARPU is calculated by dividing the average monthly service revenue by the average monthly customers during the period. Prepaid and contract ARPU only include service revenue generated from Vodacom mobile customers.


Tanzania continued to execute on its strategy, delivering good revenue and customer growth despite a highly competitive environment. We have continued to invest in enhanced registration processes and to suspend customers until they update personal registration details, as required by law. Mozambique and Lesotho delivered strong results supported by good execution in monetising growing demand in data and M-Pesa, while performance in the DRC has improved as the currency and economic environment began stabilising in the second half of the year. Our focus on improving customer experience by addressing points of detraction has resulted in NPS leadership in all markets, in line with our strategy of providing the best customer experience.

We added 2.5 million customers for the year, up 8.6% to 32.2 million. This was supported by good customer growth in the DRC, up 13.8%, recovering to levels seen prior to the disconnections done in 2016 in compliance with customer registration requirements, while Mozambique grew customers by 18.7%.

Data revenue grew strongly by 12.0% (18.7%*). We continue to make excellent progress in meeting the growing demand for data, by expanding our data networks to new areas and constantly improving the network experience in high-demand areas such as major towns and cities. We are actively driving access to more affordable smart devices, especially Vodacom-branded devices resulting in smartphone adoption rates increasing to 31.9%. Our digital social media partnerships, as well as bundled offers through 'Just 4 You' allowed us to tailor targeted data propositions to better monetise the data demand, all of which resulted in an increase of 3.6 million data customers, to 16.6 million, up 27.5%. Data monetisation remains a key focus area in all markets as demand grows rapidly.

M-Pesa revenue grew strongly by 19.6% (30.4%*) to R2.3 billion, contributing 13.8% of International service revenue. We added 1.8 million customers for the year, reaching 11.8 million. We continuously add new services to the platform expanding consumers' payment options. In Tanzania, we have introduced lipa kwa M-Pesa, our merchant payment solution, which is showing very strong merchant take up. This platform gives customers the convenience to transact with M-Pesa at more points of sale. The equivalent of over USD160 million was transacted through this system this year. In Mozambique, we have expanded our agent network to more than 20 000 agents, while in the DRC and Lesotho we continue to incentivise customers to increase uptake. On average, USD1.9 billion was processed monthly through the M-Pesa system.

The EBITDA margin improved 2.0ppts, while EBIT increased 27.2% (26.5%*) to R2.1 billion, and EBIT margin expanded by 2.5ppts to 12.0%. We have entrenched a culture of strong cost containment in all our operations, leveraging from programmes such as 'Fit for growth'. Improved revenue growth, savings on commissions from airtime purchases through M-Pesa, continued savings in network operating expenses, and improving foreign exchange rates, are key drivers for margin growth.

Capital expenditure of R2.7 billion was focused on improving customer experience on our networks by extending voice and data coverage, improving data network speeds and investing in Business Intelligence tools to drive growth. We rolled out additional 4G sites in Tanzania and Lesotho and expanded 3G coverage in the DRC and Mozambique. As part of our digital transformation, we continue to invest in enhancing our IT systems to support our personalised pricing offers and to deliver on our segmentation strategy.

   Year ended 31 March     Year-on-year % change    
International  2018     2017     Reported     Normalised*    
Service revenue (Rm) 16 828     16 775     0.3     7.4    
Revenue (Rm) 17 460     17 350     0.6     7.9    
EBIT (Rm) 2 096     1 648     27.2     26.5    
EBITDA (Rm) 4 930     4 545     8.5    
Data revenue (Rm) 2 429     2 168     12.0    
M-Pesa revenue (Rm) 2 327     1 945     19.6    
Capital expenditure (Rm) 2 707     2 833     (4.4)   
Customers 1 (thousand) 32 194     29 655     8.6    
Data customers 2 (thousand) 16 573     12 997     27.5    


During the year, we concluded our acquisition of a 34.94% indirect stake in Safaricom, the number one mobile operator in Kenya. In the eight months since acquisition, Safaricom has contributed a profit of R1.5 billion which represents the net amount of earnings from Safaricom of R1.9 billion and an amortisation charge of R383 million in relation to fair valued assets and before minority interest.

Safaricom finished the year with great momentum, reporting annual service revenue growth of 10.0% to KES225 billion and EBIT growth of 12.6% (18.3% excluding a once-off adjustment in the prior year relating to a KES3.4 billion excise duty refund) to KES79 billion. Underpinning the results was strong expansion of Safaricom's customer base by 5.1% to 29.6 million customers. Strong growth in both data and M-Pesa revenue continues as data customers increased by 6.2% to 17.7 million customers, and 30-day active M-Pesa customers increased 8.0% to 20.5 million. M-Pesa revenue grew 14.2% while data revenue grew by 24.0%. M-Pesa revenue contributed 28.0% to service revenue, while data revenue contributed 16.2% to service revenue. Investment in capital expenditure of KES36.4 billion resulted in 3G sites increasing 18.9% and 4G sites increasing 49.4% year-on-year.

These results are available on www.safaricom.co.ke/investor-relation/financials/reports/financial-results.

Tanzania Tanzania

   2018     2017    
Revenue (TZSm) 977 994     933 292    
EBIT (TZSm) 96 895     97 260    
Customers 1 (thousand) 12 899     12 653    
Data customers 2 (thousand) 7 345     6 463    
MOU per month 4  163     157    
Total ARPU 5 (rand per month) 35     38    
Total ARPU 5 (TZS per month) 6 086     6 003    
Number of employees  537     525    
NPS (position relative to competitors) 1st     3rd    
Customer market share  #1     #1    

Despite a challenging trading environment, good execution of network investments, customer value management, promotional offers, and targeted M-Pesa and data propositions, all contributed to this year's solid performance.

As expected, the 42% reduction in the mobile termination rate, and measures to improve customer registration compliance weighed on revenue growth in the final quarter. This was largely offset by an intensified focus on cost containment and the sale of our equity stake in Helios Towers Tanzania.

Our segmented marketing approach, coupled with digital social media partnerships and smartphone campaigns, accelerated demand for mobile data services, leading to a gain of over 882 thousand data customers and data revenue growth of 34.7%.

Targeted propositions and ecosystem development increased customer spend across our M-Pesa base and escalated revenue growth to 16.7%. Our network of over 6 300 active merchants makes
M-Pesa the most convenient payment choice, outgrowing the number of payment card terminals across the country. Of the USD17.5 billion of payments made across the M-Pesa system in Tanzania, the equivalent of over USD160 million was transacted through our new merchant platform which we established during the year.

We also launched high-speed 4G services in five cities, near doubling the number of 4G sites deployed across our network, while consistently providing our customers with the fastest average download speeds available in Tanzania.

Going forward, we see an opportunity to prioritise investments over the short term to further our leadership in data and M-Pesa user experience.

We believe that our M-Pesa customer base will continue to expand as we focus on building greater activity through our lipa kwa M-Pesa merchant platform and establishing new partnerships which enhance the mobile money ecosystem.

We expect further increases in smartphone penetration, stimulated by the continuation of partnership-led, low-cost smartphone campaigns. In addition, given that the expansion of our network's capacity through spectrum acquisition is a core component of our long-term strategy, we will seek to obtain additional spectrum to provide the benefits of a superior 4G data user experience to a greater number of communities across Tanzania.


   2018     2017    
Revenue (USD'000) 428 169     407 413    
EBIT (USD'000) 12 578     12 664    
Customers 1 (thousand) 11 821     10 388    
Data customers 2 (thousand) 4 825     3 705    
MOU per month 4  39     49    
Total ARPU 5 (rand per month) 38     49    
Total ARPU 5 (USD per month) 3       
Number of employees  578     617    
NPS (position relative to competitors) 1st     1st    
Customer market share  #1     #1    

Vodacom DRC returned to growth this year, in spite of the challenging operating context, as political instability and a deteriorating macroeconomic environment undermined consumption. We were heavily affected by the impact that the decoupling of the Congolese franc from the US dollar, which lead to a de-facto price inflation, had on consumer spending.

Performance improved in the second half of the year, as the currency and economic environment began to stabilise and we took measures to more regularly align pricing to the official currency exchange rate. We continued to deliver on our strategic priorities, maintaining first position while increasing our lead on NPS. Revenue increased 5.1%, driven by the 81.8% increase in M-Pesa revenue. We added 1.4 million customers in the year, while M-Pesa customers increased by 32.9% to 1.9 million and data customers increased 30.2% to 4.8 million. Robust customer growth was as a result of strong focus on network expansion, customer experience, brand and the delivery of customer-focused offerings through 'Just 4 You'.

M-Pesa has been a big driver of growth this year as we expanded the M-Pesa ecosystem and improved customer experience by leveraging of the new M-Pesa platform. We launched a new service called 'M-Pesa Bureau de Change' that allows customers to convert their money to Congolese franc or US dollar, simplifying the process for customers to perform financial transactions in a volatile foreign exchange environment.

We worked relentlessly on our network, with daily focus on network KPIs to improve customer experience. We rolled out additional sites and improved network availability and quality. We made our network 4G ready and have launched the service in May 2018 after obtaining the 4G licence.

We are optimistic about the slight recovery in the mining industry which is being enhanced by copper and cobalt price increases.

Key focus areas for the year ahead include driving customer value management through enhancing our 'Just 4 You' personalised offers, developing strategic partnerships to drive our content proposition to drive data uptake and renegotiating key supplier contracts to deliver on our 'Fit for growth' cost-saving initiatives. We are focusing on the M-Pesa person to person (P2P) ecosystem.

Mozambique Mozambique

   2018     2017    
Revenue (MZNm) 17 635     14 641    
EBIT (MZNm) 4 158     2 568    
Customers 1 (thousand) 6 108     5 146    
Data customers 2 (thousand) 3 730     2 280    
MOU per month 4  143     121    
Total ARPU 5 (rand per month) 51     45    
Total ARPU 5 (TZS per month) 241     216    
Number of employees  530     485    
NPS (position relative to competitors) 1st     2nd    
Customer market share  #1     #1    

Vodacom Mozambique continued its excellent performance in the year delivering revenue growth of 20.4% and even stronger EBIT growth of 61.9%. Voice revenue continued to grow strongly, up 18.5% mainly as a result of the 18.7% increase in customers to 6.1 million as we continued to build on our strong brand, increase coverage roll-out and drive improved customer experience and value propositions through our customer value management activities. All these initiatives enabled us to improve our NPS performance, ending the year at first position with a 4 point lead.

Data revenue grew 30.6% and data customers increased 63.6% to 3.7 million. Data traffic increased 68.7% as we continue to drive data uptake through Vodacom-branded smart devices. 50.4% of our 30-day customers are using smartphones.

M-Pesa revenue more than doubled, supported by the 1.1 million increase in M-Pesa customers and higher number of transactions per active customer driven by ecosystem expansion as we added more services to the M-Pesa platform. 51.0% of our customers are using M-Pesa.

EBIT growth was supported by the robust revenue contribution, a stronger metical against all major currencies and implemented cost-efficiency initiatives to counter inflationary pressures and high energy costs.

We are in the process of renewing our 2G licence expiring at the end of August 2018. The Mozambique Council of Ministers has approved the 800 MHz spectrum auction, which we plan to participate in; once obtained we would be able to begin the roll-out of 4G.

In the year ahead, we will concentrate our efforts on increasing our customer value management activities through segmented and personalised offerings, collaborate to provide our customers with more reasons to consume data and drive efficiencies through the 'Fit for growth' cost containment activities.

Lesotho Lesotho

   2018     2017    
Revenue (Rm) 1 255     1 116    
EBIT (Rm) 475     426    
Customers 1 (thousand) 1 366     1 468    
Data customers 2 (thousand) 673     549    
MOU per month 4  86     82    
Total ARPU 5 (rand per month) 70     61    
Number of employees  209     207    
NPS (position relative to competitors) 1st     1st    
Customer market share  #1     #1    

Vodacom Lesotho continued its strong growth momentum, increasing revenue by 12.5%, supported by strong growth in voice and data revenue.

Data revenue increased 25.1%, supported by a 22.6% increase in data customers to 673 000 and a 53% increase in megabyte used per customer, arising from our device strategy of providing customers with access to better low-cost smart devices. Data revenue growth was achieved despite the 29.4% decrease in price per megabyte, in line with our commitment to reduce the cost to communicate.

M-Pesa remains a strong growth area with revenue increasing by 43.5% attributed to a 24.0% increase in M-Pesa customers and a >40% growth in most ecosystem products, including pay bill transactions and airtime purchases.

EBIT increased 11.5% supported by strong revenue growth and key focus on cost savings on commissions paid, through our 'Fit for growth' initiatives.

Looking ahead, data monetisation remains a key priority. We have invested heavily on our customer value management systems and are utilising these systems to provide further value through 'Just 4 You'. Our recently launched NXT LVL youth proposition is expected to drive uptake into this data-centric segment. We are looking to make a bigger play on content driven in part by locally produced content and live events. We continue to focus on the M-Pesa ecosystem expansion with the launch of the financial services in a phased approach offering group savings and loans, as well as other exciting offerings planned for the year.