Vodacom Tanzania's first-half core earnings rise on M-Pesa, data revenue

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Vodacom Tanzania’s core earnings rose 9.3% in the six months to the end of September, driven by increased revenue from its financial and data provision services, it said on Friday.

Tanzania’s biggest telecoms operator, which is partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom, said revenue from its M-Pesa financial services operations grew 15.9%, while its data business posted 17.4% revenue growth.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation, known as core earnings, were 147 billion shillings ($63.91 million).

The company added 760,000 new customers during the period, said Chief Executive Hisham Hendi, adding that he expected further growth momentum from the financial services business.

M-Pesa expanded to Tanzania from neighboring Kenya, where it was launched by Safaricom, part of the Vodacom group, in 2007.

It now contributes just over a third of Vodacom Tanzania’s total revenue, the firm said.

Hendi said the company was rushing to comply with a government order to register all mobile phone subscribers using their biometric features to curb cyber-crime by the end of this year.

“There are concerns (about) the wider impact of the envisaged deadline if customers have to be switched off to ensure compliance,” he said.

Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Jan Harvey