South Africa service revenue was up 5.4% reflecting strong demand for new services and connectivity. International service revenue declined by 1.4% (-0.3%*), with M-Pesa supporting a notable sequential improvement in the year-on-year decline of normalised service revenue.
“In the wake of a second wave of COVID-19 infections across most of the world, Vodacom Group remains committed to assisting governments curb the spread of the pandemic whilst at the same time focusing on the economic recovery in each of the markets where we operate through the execution of a six-point plan. This plan includes expanding network coverage and resilience, accelerating support to governments, enhancing digital accessibility and digital adoption, supporting the strategies of our customers as they adapt to the “new normal” and promoting financial inclusion.”Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO
In South Africa, 23 million customers took advantage of discounts and the greater value offered through a highly successful summer “ShakeOff 2020” campaign and our recently launched VodaBucks loyalty programme with an additional 1.45 million customers connecting to our leading network during the quarter. Supported by a significant increase in demand for our Airtime Advance product and a healthy increase in insurance policies, our Financial Services business remains a very strong performer having increased revenue by 24.3%, as the business continues to scale. Our partnership with Alipay will add new dimensions to our Financial Services’ proposition and in particular VodaPay, which will become our single lifestyle super app.
Group service revenue increased 4.2%, on a normalised basis, supported by our ongoing investment into an ecosystem of connectivity, financial and digital services. This ecosystem approach promotes engagement with customers and creates more opportunities to add value. In South Africa, service revenue grew 5.4%, with both our Consumer and Vodacom Business segments contributing to growth, despite our material data price reductions on 1 April 2020.
Normalised growth across our International operations showed a marked improvement in the quarter. Revenues from M-Pesa increased 10.1%, largely the result of a 7.7% increase in customers, with almost 16 million people – or just under half of our International customer base – now making use of our M-Pesa platform. Including Safaricom, monthly M-Pesa transactions were US$24.2 billion, up 57.8% year-on-year. Also, the positive societal impact of the M-Pesa platform continues to expand. As an example, in Mozambique, NGOs are now able to distribute cash through M-Pesa, with over 300 000 households expected to benefit from this initiative.Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO
In addition to our ongoing COVID-19 response and ensuring that we continue to invest significantly in our network to accommodate rapid shifts in customer behaviour, participating in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA) High Demand Spectrum auction is a key strategic priority for the Group in the quarter ahead. We see the assignment of spectrum as instrumental in extending coverage, improving quality of service and lowering the cost to communicate in South Africa. Any further delays to this process will likely have a negative impact on consumers.
To further enhance customer experience, we invested R3.4 billion in our network across the Group in the quarter – including the expansion of 4G coverage, speeds and capacity. In South Africa alone, we invested R2.7 billion to support data demand and shifts in customer behaviour patterns with a need to work, entertain and educate from home.Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO