July 25, 2019 / 6:23 AM / 24 days ago

South Africa's Vodacom first-quarter revenue rises on international business

FILE PHOTO: A shopper walks past a Vodacom shop in Johannesburg February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African mobile phone operator Vodacom Group Ltd (VODJ.J) on Thursday reported a 4% rise in first quarter revenue as growth from its international business offset a lacklustre performance at home, sending its shares up 2%.

Group revenue rose to 21.5 billion rand ($1.55 billion) for the quarter ended June 30, with service revenue up 3.9% to 17.4 billion rand.

Despite the impact of cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, international service revenue jumped 20%, largely driven by a 42.7% increase in revenue from Kenya’s Safaricom (SCOM.NR) M-Pesa mobile financial services platform and data demand, the company said.

Vodacom and Safaricom plan to acquire the intellectual property rights of M-Pesa from Britain’s Vodafone (VODJ.J) in a 12 million euro deal that will let both purchasers make significant savings in royalties paid to Vodafone and expand the service to new African markets.

In South Africa, service revenue was hurt by a further cut in out-of-bundle tariffs announced in March, data usage regulations and the transition between national roaming partners.

New regulations require mobile operators to roll over unused data and prevent automatic out-of-bundle data usage, as part of efforts to bring costs down.

Looking ahead, CEO Shameel Joosub Joosub said he expects growth in the second half of the year to improve in South Africa.

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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