Airtel now has 104 million subscribers in Africa, with 58% of sites now 4G

Airtel Africa has reported a revenue increase of 8.4 per cent, with the figure standing at $1.64 billion in the first half of the year and growing by 9.8 per cent in the second quarter of the year. During the period under review, the group’s subscriber base grew by 10.4 per cent to stand at 104 million.

In currency terms, stated the group, the revenue grew by 11.4 per cent in the first half of the year and 12.6% in the second quarter of the year, adding that this was the seventh consecutive quarter the firm has recorded double-digit constant currency growth.

The constant currency revenue growth of 11.4 per cent has been driven by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa, and partially offset by a slight decrease in revenues from other subsidiaries in Africa.

The growth was spread across all services, with revenue in Voice, Data and Mobile Money increasing by 3.2 per cent, 37.8 per cent and 46.5 per cent, respectively.

Commenting on the results, Raghunath Mandava, the Airtel Africa CEO, said: “These figures underline the strength of our ability to consistently deliver growth across voice, data and mobile money. In the first 6 months of this financial year, we delivered revenue growth of 11.4 per cent in constant currency terms, with even higher underlying EBITDA growth as we continued to improve our operating leverage and tight focus on costs. This performance underlines our ability to consistently grow in double digits, powered by our growth engines of Data and Airtel Money growing at 37 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. This is the 7th quarter of double-digit growth with EBITDA margin expansion of over 90 basis points.”

“In July, we reached an important milestone as we crossed 100 million customers across our footprint. Our strong customer growth aided by distribution expansion was a key driver behind voice revenue growth. Our investments ahead of the industry in LTE network along with our simple and intuitive customer journeys have helped grow data consumption by 81 per cent and data revenue growth by 37.8 per cent. Over the last 6 months, we launched 4G services in Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger, and 4G sites now account for 58 per cent of total sites. Now we are ready to launch in Tanzania, thereby making 4G services available across all our 14 countries.”

Revenue in our Mobile Money business grew 46.5 per cent in the first half of the year and just above 50 per cent in the second quarter of the year, as a result of new customer propositions and investments in exclusive franchise stores and kiosks.

According to the highlights of the results, the Group has invested to expand its network footprint and number of 4G sites to enhance network capabilities and support future business growth.

The Group’s focus on building exclusive channels, combined with simplified digital on-boarding application with seamless on-boarding customer experience have enabled it to add quality customers, resulting in customer base growth of 10.4 per cent who now stand at 104 million across Africa.

Nigeria recorded the highest subscriber growth at 15.6 per cent with East Africa contributing 9.1 per cent while the rest of the other Africa subsidiaries recorded a growth of 3.8 per cent. During the period, overall churn decreased by 0.1 per cent to stand at 4.8 per cent.

The Group’s strategy to invest in the 4G network through single RAN technology has resulted in better 4G coverage and enhanced the network’s capacity, leading to high-speed data being made available to more customers. With continued investment in 4G network across the subsidiaries, 4G sites now account for 58 per cent of total sites as compared to 27 per cent in the previous year. In the first half of the year, the Group launched 4G services in DRC and Niger with planned commercial launch in Tanzania, thereby making 4G services available across all the 14 countries where Airtel has operations.

In the six months ended September 30, 2019, Airtel completed its network modernization in 9 countries (that is Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Madagascar and Seychelles) and continued the modernization in other countries.


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