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Data, mobile money drives Airtel Africa's revenue growth

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Africa , 18 May 2020
Airtel Africa has reported US$3.42-billion in revenue, driven mainly by its data and mobile money services.
Airtel Africa has reported US$3.42-billion in revenue, driven mainly by its data and mobile money services.

Pan-African telecommunications company, Airtel Africa has reported US$3.42-billion in revenue, driven mainly by its data and mobile money services across its operations in the region.

In its fiscal year that ended 31 March 2020, the company saw a year-on-year jump of 36% in data revenue to US$930-million and a 33% rise in mobile money revenue to US$311-million.

The company, which operates in 14 African countries including Zambia, Tanzania, DRC and Malawi, said in a report that it now has a total of 110.6 million subscribers across the 14 markets, compared to 98.9 million the previous year and 35.4 million data users, up from 30 million in March 2019.

Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava said the company delivered a strong set of results in the financial year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but warned the impact might be felt going forward because across the 14 countries, “we are in various stages both of the spread of COVID-19 and also the response of the governments.”

Mandava said the company introduced a number of measures to offset the impact of the virus on users including cutting transaction fees on selected mobile money services, offering free text messages and increasing data allowances for some users.

Mandava remains confident of the medium term opportunities for the business, which includes taking advantage of the low data penetration rate in many of the company’s markets and scaling up its expansion of mobile money services.

“We have been able to move some countries substantially in terms of mobile money penetration which is a clear indication that our expansion of mobile money is working. The clear pillars of growth are distribution, growth availability and increase in use cases,” he said.

Among the company’s core objectives with mobile financial services is to increase its footprint across kiosks, mini-shops and Airtel money shops, add new services including loans and servings and ink further partnership agreements for international transfers.

Richard Kadoro, a telecoms researcher at Computer Association of Zambia said Airtel is likely to continue recording revenue growth as more people are getting connected and are using mobile money and data services.

“As we know, so many people now work online and via phones and transacting through mobile money and other platforms due to lockdowns. With this in mind, it’s unlikely that Airtel will be affected negatively in terms of data and mobile money revenue in the coming financial year,” Kadoro said

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