Airtel Africa Plc reported a 6.9% year on year growth in its revenue for the quarter ending June 2020. The company revealed its revenues for the quarter rose to $851 million compared to $796 million a year earlier.
Its revenue growth was hampered by the devaluation in Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia, its key markets. The Nigerian division reported a 8.9% growth in revenue to $341 million in June compared to the same period in 2019.
The company explains that despite the negative effect of the devaluation, growth in customer base helped reduce the impact. Nigeria devalued its currency in March by about 7% moving from N360/$1 to N388/$1 at the investor and exporter window where forex is also traded officially. Kenya and Zambia also devalued by 4.4% and 28.3% respectively, the company reported.
Airtel: “Reported revenue grew by 6.9%, with constant currency growth of 13.0%. The constant currency growth of 13.0% was partially offset by currency devaluation, mainly in Nigeria (6.9%), Zambia (28.3%) and Kenya (4.4%). The revenue growth was largely driven by the growth of our customer base, up by 11.8% to 111.5million and ARPU growth of 1.6% in constant currency. Revenue growth was recorded across all the regions: Nigeria up 17.1%, East Africa up 17.5% and Francophone Africa up 2.2%. Notably, revenue growth was broad based across all our key segments: voice up 2.2%, data up 35.7% and mobile money up 26.3% in constant currency terms.”
The company reports its subscriber base rose 13.5% in Nigeria helping its Nigerian revenue rise from $313 million to $341 million in the quarter. On a constant currency basis or not accounting for the effects of currency difference, its Nigerian business recorded a revenue growth of 17%.
An area where Airtel seems to be making major growth driver is its data revenues. According to Airtel its total customer base was 42.5 million compared to 37.5 million a year earlier. Airtel defines its customer subscriber base as total number of subscribers that used any of our services (voice calls, SMS, data usage or Airtel Money transaction) in the last 30 days.
The company’s data revenue grew by 40% in the quarter driven by a year on year 18.5% growth in data customers. Airtel’s internet subscriber numbers has risen to 17.3 million from has 14.3 million between December 2019 and June 2020.
This differs from data from the NCC, Nigeria’s telecoms regulator. The NCC reports Airtel has 37.3 million telecoms subscribers as at June 2020. Airtel however, defines its data customer base as “Total subscribers who consumed at least 1MB on the Group’s GPRS, 3G or 4G network in the last 30 days.”
Airtel has been a major force in the data space relying on it to drive its revenues. During the year Airtel Nigeria’s data revenues was $122 million or 35.7% of total revenues compared to 30% a year ago. Airtel claims its data strategy has been driven by usage of its 4G data which contributed 58% to the total data usage.
The company revealed it has accelerated the rollout of is 4G network which has led to 70% of total sites now being 4G and affordable data bundle offerings. Nigerians guzzled data during the economic lock downs, relying on it to avoid boredom by streaming data and increasing internet usage.
Despite this, Airtel’s revenue growth has been stalled by a rise in Globacom, its closest competitor both on the voice and data business segments. Globacom data subscriptions has risen from 28.8 million to 37.2 million between May 2019 and May 2020 a 29% growth. This compares to 31.9m to 37.3 million or 17% for Airtel within the same period.