Airtel Africa, the continent’s second-largest operator behind MTN has announced its half-year results ended 30 September 2019. The results are marked by impressive numbers on the whole, with some interesting developments for the East African market.
According to the India-based carrier, Airtel Africa customers grew by 10 percent to 104 million. Revenue rose by 8.4 percent in H2 to $1,640 million. In terms of constant currency, revenue appreciated by 11.4 percent in H1 and 12.6 percent in Q2. Airtel says this is the 7th consecutive quarter it has registered a double-digit currency growth. This is after the telco saw an impressive performance in Nigeria and East Africa.
Moreover, Airtel reported growth in all services, including voice, data, and mobile money at 3.2 percent, 37.8 percent, and 46.5 percent in that order. Its mobile money product in Kenya is still eclipsed by the insanely popular M-PESA, among other competitors such as Equitel.
“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% in constant currency terms, with even higher underlying EBITDA growth as we continued to improve our operating leverage and tight focus on costs,” said Raghunath Mandava, Chief Executive Officer.
The financial report says the East African market saw a 5.8 percent growth in revenue. Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia recorded double-digit revenue growth in constant currency.
Having experienced an extended network outage a week ago in Kenya, the carrier says it has invested in 4G network quality for high-speed connectivity. However, these promises and developments have not been experienced locally with constant complaints from users outside major towns. Nevertheless, Airtel Africa maintains it has completed a network modernization exercise in nine countries: Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Congo B, Gabon, Madagascar, and Seychelles.
Airtel Africa has also reorganized its operation regions in the continent as Nigeria; East Africa comprising of operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia; and Rest of Africa comprising of operations in Niger, Gabon, T Chad, Congo, DRC, Madagascar, and Seychelles.
Airtel Kenya is still pursuing a merger deal with Telkom Kenya, although the exercise has been marred by alleged corruption cases and industry ‘interference’ from competitors.