Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Vodacom Sales Growth Accelerates on Data, Mobile-Money Take-Up

Vodacom Group Ltd. said third-quarter revenue growth accelerated as Africa’s biggest phone company by market capitalization added customers and boosted sales from mobile-money.

Revenue gained 6.7 percent to 22.6 billion rand ($1.9 billion) in the three months through December, the Johannesburg-based unit of Vodafone Group Plc said in a statement on Wednesday. That compared with 1.2 percent in the same quarter a year earlier. Active subscriber numbers across all markets increased by 13 percent to 73.6 million.

In international markets such as Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, growth was driven by data sales as more customers switch to smartphones and internet costs fall. Vodafone’s revenue at M-Pesa, the mobile-banking service popular in countries under served by traditional banks, soared 33 percent as the company broadens its offering in sub-Saharan Africa.

The shares have gained 6.4 percent this year, valuing the company at 267 billion rand. That compares with 247 billion rand at cross-town rival MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest wireless carrier by sales and customers.

— With assistance by Janice Kew, and Loni Prinsloo

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