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Recent telecom operator reports suggest continued African growth

November 12, 2012  »  BusinessNo Comment

With the October-November transition comes an abundance of financial reports from telecoms companies. This quarter, we have found information from 17 telecommunications companies with African operations. The reports cite a variety of benchmarks like revenue and subscriber base, but they also explain the causes for changes in these metrics and give an outlook for the next year. Numbers for both the past three and nine months are usually given.

Compared with corresponding periods from the prior year, successes include strong revenue increases and double-digit subscriber base growth. Operation costs still remain high, however. Data revenues continue to provide a growing share of gross revenue.

An outline of the largest telecom operators’ African results from the third quarter (and first 9 months) of 2012:

Safaricom (Kenya):

  • Data sales rose 29% to nearly 4 billion shillings
  • Number of customers increased by 7% to 19.2 million
  • Will spend 2 billion shillings annually on a fibre-optic network
  • Source: Bloomberg


  • Now has 60 million users in Africa after gaining 10 million in less than 12 months (21% growth)
  • Africa losses increased by 26% in the recent quarter despite 29% gains in revenues
  • 56% increase in non-voice African revenue
  • Promises better rural penetration for subscribers, along with better customer care
  • Hopes to reach 100 million subscribers in Africa by Q2 2013
  • Has operations in 17 African nations (11 have 3.75G and 15 have Airtel Money)
  • Source: Ventures-Africa & AllAfrica

Vodacom (South Africa):

  • South Africa service revenue grew by 1.3% for the 6 months ending in September 2012
  • Data revenue grew by 13.5%
  • Data traffic increased by 42.5%
  • Average effective price per megabyte decreased by 24%
  • The number of active smartphones grew by 36%
  • 35% of the active subscriber base is using data
  • Source: IOL

MTN Group:

  • 3.8% year-over-year Q3 growth driven by South Africa (4.1%), Nigeria (5.7%), Ghana (4.8%), Zambia (10.1%)
  • Ghana gained 1.14 million subscribers in the first 9 months of 2012, thus exceeding its target
  • Ghana ARPU increased by 2.6% in the quarter
  • Strong pre-paid growth in South Africa
  • Active in 22 African and Middle East markets
  • Source: TeleGeography & ModernGhana


  • Will place a greater emphasis on high growth markets such as Nigeria and Egypt
  • Q3 revenue increased by 9% in Egyptian operations
  • Other Africa operations saw revenue increase by 2%
  • African subscriber base stands at 11 million after growing by 29% year-over-year
  • Source: Reuters & TeleGeography

France Telecom (Orange):

  • Steady 4.6% customer base growth in Middle East and African markets despite weak European revenue
  • Strongest growth in Egypt and Ivory Coast
  • Source: Yahoo! Finance

Mauritel (Mauritania):

  • Revenue up 13% for first nine months of 2012
  • Mobile customer growth of 16%
  • Mobile ARPU grew by 14% from a year ago (MAD 53.6 per month)
  • Source: Telecompaper

Onatel (Burkina Faso):

  • Revenue from first 9 months of 2012 rose by 18% versus the same period last year
  • 34% increase in mobile customer base
  • Fixed-line and Internet subscriber numbers remained stable
  • Source: Telecompaper

Maroc Telecom:

  • Customer base in Moroco grew 6% in 9 months of 2012
  • Lower fixed-line revenues despite 1.2% subscriber base growth
  • Broadband subscribers increased by 17.5% to 648,000
  • Mobile ARPU down 9%
  • Source: Telecompaper

Sotelma (Mali):

  • Mobile subscriber numbers increased by 64.5% in 9 months of 2012 vs. prior period
  • Source: Telecompaper

Gabon Telecom:

  • Wireless, Internet, and fixed revenues grew by 28% in the first 9 months of 2012
  • Source: TeleGeography

Gamtel (Gambia):

  • 4% increase in fixed-line revenue in 2011 versus 2010
  • Network capacity has increased from 310Mbps to 465Mbps
  • Source: TeleGeography

Econet (Zimbabwe):

  • 17% revenue growth from March – August 2012, but high operating costs with 50% of base stations needing to use generators
  • Subscriber base increased by 24% in six-month period (now has 70% market share)
  • Source: TeleGeography

Mobinil (Egypt):

  • 2012 losses due to technology switch to 3G
  • Seeking 4G license soon
  • Source: Ahram Online

Portugal Telecom:

  • MTC (Namibia): revenues up 14% in first nine month of 2012
  • CV Telecom (Cape Verde): flat revenue
  • Angola: strong customer growth
  • Source: Seeking Alpha

Telecom Egypt:

  • Revenues rose 5.6% to last year’s Q3
  • Data revenues rose by nearly 10% year-on-year
  • Broadband subscriber base grew 4% year-on-year to 1.256 million
  • Source: TeleGeography

Djezzy (Algeria):

  • 2% quarterly revenue growth
  • Recently announced 3G service
  • ARPU fell by 6.5% from one year ago
  • Source: Bikya Masr

No major African market updates were quickly found from Zain, Qtel, Orascom, or Sonatel.

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