Safaricom to bring 4G to 13 more cities this year

Kenya-based operator Safaricom plans to roll out its 4G network in 13 more towns and cities by the end of this year as part of efforts to improve its mobile networks across the country.

The company, which currently offers 4G services in Nairobi and Mombasa, also plans to expand its 3G network to cover 80 per cent of the population from 69 per cent at present.

Other announcements included a new home broadband service that will deliver TV and data services via the company's 3G and 4G networks and use Wi-Fi devices to distribute them within the home. The service consists of a set-top box with digital free-to-air TV channels, and will be expanded to offer a wider range of relevant content and video-on-demand services in the coming year.

Safaricom, which is 40 per cent owned by Vodafone, made the announcements on the back of its results presentation for its fiscal year to Mar. 31, 2015. Revenue in the 12-month period increased by 13 per cent year-on-year to KES163.4 billion (€1.5 billion/$1.7 billion).

EBITDA increased by 17 per cent to KES71.2 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 43.6 per cent. Profit after tax rose by 38 per cent to KES31.9 billion. The customer base grew by 8 per cent to 23.3 million.

"We have grown our total revenue…through focusing on providing quality services that resulted in double-digit growth across our non-voice service revenue streams," observed CEO Bob Collymore.

The company said non-voice service revenue, driven by data and the M-Pesa mobile money service, increased by 27 per cent to KES68.8 billion. Voice service revenue, which now stands at 54 per cent of total revenue, increased by just 4 per cent in comparison.

Collymore noted that M-Pesa now contributes 20 per cent of total revenue and continues to be a significant factor in the company's growth.

"This was driven by a 14 per cent increase in 30-day active M-Pesa customers to 13.9 million as well as an increase in the average number of transactions per customer," he added.

For more:
- see this Safaricom release

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