Mobile business carries Telkom

Telkom has released its interim financial results for the six months from 1 April to 30 September 2021, reporting flat group revenue of R21.3 billion.

The company’s mobile and masts and towers businesses helped drive revenue, ensuring that it remained stable rather than decline.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation were up 1.2%.

Telkom Consumer’s mobile business continued to be the driver of growth in the Group, with revenue increasing by 2.1% to R12.96 billion.

Mobile service revenue grew by 6.8% to R8.8 billion, and mobile data revenue was up 6.1% to R6.4 billion.

Its mobile data revenue growth was supported by a 10.3% growth in mobile broadband customers to 10.6 million, representing 65.5% of Telkom’s active customer base.

Telkom increased its mobile customer base by 18.8% year-on-year to 16.3 million. This is also up from September when Telkom reported an active customer base of 16.1 million subscribers.

This growth was partially offset by the decline in Telkom’s fixed-line business. It said this was due to migration to technologies such as long-term evolution and fibre, and ongoing pressure in the SME segment.

Telkom said it delivered this mid-year performance against a strong first half of the prior year, which saw a surge in data demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mobile revenue increased by 9.7% despite experiencing the Covid-19 bump in the prior period during the hard lockdown.

Telkom said its subscriber growth was spurred on by its prepaid customer base, which grew by 23.6% to 13.7 million.

Telkom said some of its postpaid customers continue to be impacted by financial pressure and elect for a prepaid or hybrid model as a payment method to manage their spend.

Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, Telkom said its postpaid customer base was relatively flat compared to the prior period at 2.6 million.

The blended average revenue per user (ARPU) for Telkom Mobile was R92. Prepaid ARPU was R67, and postpaid ARPU increased by 2.7% to R217.

Telkom said its masts and towers business continued on its growth trajectory, with external revenue increasing by 4.6% as it commercialises its portfolio.

Surge in data traffic

Telkom said data traffic on its network over the period was at 482 petabytes.

“Our mobile expansion programme was characterised by a R1.45 billion investment, where our footprint was extended by 12.2% to 6,910 sites,” Telkom said.

Capacity upgrades—underpinned by the deployment of additional carriers and temporary spectrum—and ongoing spectrum refarming resulted in the upgrade of more than 2,500 sites with temporary spectrum.

“We deployed the temporary spectrum released under the Covid-19 regulations, with data usage still holding at elevated levels established last year,” Telkom stated.

Telkom reported that, unfortunately, high levels of theft and vandalism of equipment—with battery theft being the most prevalent—continue.

“The impact of this is amplified by the increasing instability of the national power grid. During the period, Telkom suffered over 1,300 incidents.”

Now read: Surprise roaming deal between MTN and Telkom

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Mobile business carries Telkom