Safaricom Plc, Kenya’s biggest mobile network provider, has said its push for regional expansion and data are viable opportunities that it is exploring to boost revenues because they have ‘the potential to lead our business to greater heights’.
The telco says for its current 2020 financial year will focus on providing additional support to business units that are emerging as key revenue drivers, such as financial services.
“I am particularly keen to work closely with the team to deliver the regional expansion strategy… Data also remains a key priority for the business, which needs to find a way to create balance between growth of data consumption and revenue growth,” said Michael Joseph, Safaricom’s Interm Chief Executive Officer at firms’ 11th Annual General Meeting held on Friday.
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Joseph told the telco’s investors that they have currently made significant investments in the area to become the best 4G+ network for everything. “Growth in this area will support our evolution into a digital lifestyle enabler, which will position us favourably to grow new revenue streams from non-traditional products and services such as DigiFarm, Masoko and other innovations in the pipeline,” he said.
The company intends to spend over KES 36 billion this financial year rolling out an additional 2,030 4G and 4G+ base stations to reach more than 80 percent of the population. “Part of the reason why we want to roll out in more areas is to ensure that, beyond the numbers, we will get, we carry everyone along in providing access to affordable, quality, high-speed broadband, ” said Michael.
Safaricom became the first to roll out a 4G network in Kenya in 2014, and in June 2017, became the first in East Africa to upgrade its 4G network to 4G+. 4G provides customers with speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second with Safaricom’s 4G+ network supporting double the 4G speeds.
Driven by a 19% increase in revenues at M-pesa, Safaricom reported annual service revenue of Ksh240.3 billion for the financial year to the end of March. According to its annual report, M-PESA contributes 31.2% of service revenue while mobile data contributes 16% thereby reducing the reliance on voice and messaging revenues.
“Fixed data contributed 0.7ppts of the 7% service revenue growth. Though a relatively new line of business, fixed data is now contributing 3.4% of service revenue.”
In the AGM, it said it will pay Ksh 50.08 Billion in the year 2019, plus a special dividend of Ksh 24.84 billion at 0.62 cents per share making the total payout Ksh 74.92 billion.
“I am proud that the company has consistently paid out an increased dividend to shareholders since going public in 2008 and we have now paid out more than the Ksh 5 that the investors spent buying the shares,” said, Michael Joseph.