New services such as EcoCash, broadband, and EcoFarmer have begun to drive Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s growth as its traditional voice revenues are maturing.
Speaking at the presentation of the half year results for August 2013, Econet Wireless CEO Douglas Mboweni said the company’s focus was to speed up innovations aimed at creating new sources of revenue growth. With almost every adult, and even children, now owning cell phones, Econet has to invest heavily in new sources of revenue if it is to continue growing.
“We have been aware of this for a long time and we are addressing it by investing in and developing new sources of revenue. Whilst this takes time, we are now seeing very encouraging signs that our strategy is beginning to bear fruit,” he said.
Whilst the company added more than 500 000 new customers over the last six months, Mr Mboweni noted that growth in the business was no longer about getting new customers, because the revenue they generated was falling all the time.
He said innovations like EcoCash, broadband, EcoFarmer, and many others in the pipeline, would be the future mainstay of the company.
EcoCash processed almost $1.2billion of transactions in the six months to August, and although Mr Mboweni said it was still not profitable due to high investment costs, he however predicted that it will eventually account for at least 10% of revenue of the group within 18 months.
Meanwhile, results for the half year to August showed that the company had managed to sustain its strong market position, and its customer base now stands at 8.5 million. Revenue for the period grew by 11%, to $376.6 million compared to the same time last year.
The highlight of the period under review was the completion of the renewal of the license by 20 years, for which the company had paid the full amount of $137.5million. “I am pleased to say that we have paid the full amount of $137.5m for the license renewal, and we managed to do so from internal resources.”
Due to the large amount paid out on the license fees, as well as commitments on paying down its debt, which now stands at $232 million, Mr Mboweni said the company had not purchased any shares under the “share buy-back” scheme, and would also not pay a dividend to its shareholders.
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