Vodacom Group revenue increased by 5.6 percent to ZAR 22.73 billion in the first quarter to 30 June.
The mobile operator said it saw strong growth in South Africa as customer demand rose during the lockdown, but international operations were hit by lower economic activity because of Covid-19.
Service revenue climbed 7.6 percent to ZAR 18.76 billion. The temporary spectrum assignment in South Africa allowed Vodacom to fast-track the launch of the country’s first mobile 5G network and a fixed 5G commercial service.
International service revenue grew by 10.7 percent, benefiting from the rand devaluation. Underlying performance was subdued with a 5.3 percent decline, as a result of lower economic trading activity, free M-Pesa services and customer registration requirements in these businesses.
Normalised international service revenue shrank by 5.3 percent as coronavirus reduced economic activity, with lower pricing for M-Pesa transactions in some operations to enable social distancing, and the barring of service to 2.9 million customers in Tanzania in Q4 of the prior year. Customers increased 7.1 percent compared with the prior year to 37.7 million, with a net loss in the quarter of 919,000, primarily in Tanzania. Vodacom deleted a number of customers in this quarter who had been inactive since barring services in Q4, in line with its 90-day churn policy.
While underlying growth in international voice revenue was down 11.7 percent during the first quarter, data customers increased 5.2 percent to 20.0 million, with data traffic rising 44.3 percent driven, by the need to work from home, and substitution of data over voice during lockdowns in the DRC, Mozambique and Lesotho. Usage per customer increased on average by 32.5 percent.
International M-Pesa revenue was up 17.0 percent and customers increased 3.5 percent to 14.7 million. Revenue was hit by discounted and free person-to-person (P2P) services in most markets. Movement restrictions in several of markets have also seen trade reduced, which resulted in the value and number of transactions decreasing in the quarter.
Airtel To Exit From Ghana market, Reports $3.5bn Revenue in India
Bharti Airtel’s board has announced that the Ghana government and AirtelTigo are in the advanced stages of concluding an agreement to transfer the mobile operator AirtelTigo to the state.
This includes its customers, asserts and agreed liabilities, with 100 percent of shares on a going concern basis. No financial details of the sale were disclosed, but Airtel said it is taking an impairment charge of INR 1.84 billion on its holding in the operator.
AirtelTigo is a joint venture between Airtel and Millicom formed in 2017, in which Airtel holds a non-controlling 49.95 percent stake. It’s the third largest mobile operator in Ghana, with around 21 percent of customers.
In another development, Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal noted the company bucked traditional weakness in its fiscal Q2 (calendar Q3), as growing numbers of 4G users and a hike in tariffs in 2019 combined to deliver the operator’s highest-ever consolidated quarterly revenue.
In a statement, Vittal cited a bump in monthly data consumption as a revenue driver and hailed “strong engagement” of customers as evidence the operator’s digital platform strategy was on the right track. Another highlight was “steady growth momentum” in its business unit.
The operator ended the period with 152.7 million 4G users, up 48.1 per cent year-on-year, with daily traffic up from 48.9PB to 77.3PB. In the quarter it added more than 5,000 LTE sites, taking the total above 200,000.
Airtel explained it continued to tackle the lingering effects of Covid-19 (coronavirus), with ongoing promotion of digital channels for top-ups and payments.
It also noted stores and offices had reopened, insurance arranged for staff, and financial aid provided to partners. Revenue of INR257.8 billion ($3.5 billion) was 22 per cent higher, with net loss reduced from INR230.4 billion in fiscal Q2 2020 to INR7.6 billion.
Mobile service revenue in India grew 25.9 per cent to INR138.3 billion, while its South Asia number was flat at INR1.1 billion. Its tower business reaped INR17.7 billion, up INR1 billion. India ARPU increased from INR128 in fiscal Q2 2020 to INR162 in the recent quarter.
Its Africa operation last week revealed revenue gains, but a slight decline in net profit.
Emerging Economies Should Rewrite Financial Rules To Rein In Big Tech- FSB
Regulatory frameworks in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDE) should be redrawn to reflect the size, scope and growth of Big Tech firms in financial services, says the Financial Stability Board.
The FSB report for G20 finance ministers and central bank governors finds that the expansion of Big Tech firms in financial services in EMDEs has generally been more rapid and broad-based than that in advanced economies.
Lower levels of financial inclusion in EMDEs create a source of demand for Big Tech firms’ services, particularly amongst low-income populations and in rural areas where populations are under-served by traditional financial institutions.
While the expansion of Big Tech companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon has some benefits, their activity also gives rise to operational and consumer protection risks and concerns about market dominance, states the FSB.
This applies as much to local incumbents as consumers, who the FSB fears may be encouraged to play fast and loose with the rulebook and take more risks in order to keep pace with Big Techs.
States the FSB: “The experience of EMDEs also underscores the need to apply the principle of ‘same risk – same regulation’ with respect to Big Tech firms’ activities, whilst tailoring regulatory frameworks to reflect the relative size and scope of those firms’ activities. Financial authorities may also usefully contribute to the development of robust public policy and frameworks with respect to data governance, consumer protection and operational risk management.”
Telenor Connexion, Ericsson Enable Sustainable Micro-factories with IoT Accelerator
Powered by Ericsson IoT Accelerator, Telenor Connexion will provide global connectivity to Wayout’s sustainable micro-factories starting in East Africa and expanding into the Middle East, Asia Pacific and other markets in 2021.
Wayout has engineered plug-and-play micro-factories for local production of clean, filtered water, with a minimal eco footprint. Powered by solar panels, the micro-factories offer an advanced water purification system.
According to the United Nations, 3 in 10 people lack access to safely managed drinking water services.
Wayout’s local solution eliminates the unnecessary logistics of bottling and transporting pre-packaged glass or plastic bottles. Each module is fully automated and can filter 70,000 liters of water, remove up to eight tons of CO₂ and up to 200,000 plastic bottles every month. The micro-factories are managed by a smartphone application to manage operations, monitor performance, and launch autocleaning.
Wayout’s local operations depend on reliable global connectivity. Powered by Ericsson IoT Accelerator, Telenor Connexion delivers the cellular IoT connectivity management services, SIM cards and all necessary agreements with local operators to provide truly global service. Ericsson IoT Accelerator is a global IoT platform, enabling cost-efficient IoT connectivity management and operations for any enterprise of any scale, using the secure, scalable and standardized worldwide mobile network infrastructure.
Ulf Stenerhag, CEO Wayout says: “Perfect drinking water should be a human right. Our idea is to make access easy and reliable. By leveraging spearpoint technology and robust engineering, our connected sustainable micro-factories enable infrastructure solutions and business opportunities for providing perfect drinking water locally, whilst reducing the environmental impact globally. We want to let it flow.”
Mats Lundquist, CEO, Telenor Connexion says, “Telenor Connexion is proud to provide global connectivity to Wayout. They are an innovative company that values and prioritize sustainability and is making an impact.”
Kiva Allgood, Head of IoT, Ericsson, says, “Our technology can help solve global challenges and accelerate sustainability. Together with Telenor Connexion and Wayout, we are using our global IoT platform to deliver business and societal value and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”
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