JOHANNESBURG, July 20 (Reuters) - Vodacom Group revenue rose 3.9 percent to 20.7 billion rand ($1.60 billion) in the first quarter, boosted in its home market South Africa by increased smartphone sales, the telecoms operator said on Thursday.
Vodacom’s South African revenue grew 7.8 percent to 16.7 billion rand for the quarter ending 30 June, 2017, after sales of smartphones rose 17 percent, Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said in a statement.
International operations revenue declined 8.2 percent to 4.2 billion rand for the period, which the company blamed on currency volatility, the firm said. Customers outside South Africa climbed 12 percent to 30 million, it added.
“Underlying growth trends in our International operations have improved, with a better performance in Tanzania and sustained growth in Mozambique and Lesotho through strong commercial execution,” said Joosub said adding that exchange rate volatility continued to hurt revenues.
Vodacom said it expected to boost its performance outside South Africa with its expansion in Kenya through a 34.6 billion rand ($2.72 billion) deal to acquire a 35 percent stake in Safaricom from Vodafone, its majority owner.
The deal will give Vodacom access to a market where Safaricom has a 71 percent share and demand for mobile phone services is still growing.
$1 = 12.9485 rand Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Edmund Blair