The subscriber base of Airtel Africa has grown by 6.9% to 118.2 million, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 14.5%) and mobile money services (customer base up 18.5%).
However, the recent slowdown in customer base growth has been due to new SIM registration regulations in Nigeria.
Sub-Saharan Africa is characterised by low penetrated markets, with unique subscriber penetration at 46%. The Group continued to build a unique mix of multi-brand and exclusive franchise channels, combined with a simplified and enhanced self-service app to provide a seamless customer onboarding experience.
These have enabled Airtel Africa to add customers, resulting in a customer base growth of 6.9% for the year. This has also helped the telecoms giant to grow voice revenue by 11.0% in constant currency.
Analysis carried out revealed that Airtel Africa’s improved 4G network contributed to an increase in smartphone penetration, in data customers and in up-take of large data volumes, resulting in greater data consumption per customer.
Smartphone penetration was up by 1 percentage points to 33% and its data customer base grew by 14.5%, now representing 34.3% of its total customer base.
Data usage per customer reached 2.6 GB per customer (from 1.8 GB per customer) led by an increase in smartphone penetration and expansion of its home broadband and enterprise customers. This helped us grow data revenue by 31.2% in constant currency.
Growing penetration and usage of 3G and 4G data customers helped us grow data ARPU 8.2%. 4G data usage more than doubled in the year, contributing 62.2% of total data usage on the network in Q4’21.
Airtel Africa Plc has continued strong revenue growth, increased profitability and cash flow, and continued deleveraging as indicated in the recently released financial results for the period ended 31 March 2021.
The telecommunications giant reported that revenue grew by 14.2% to $3,908m, with Q4’21 reported revenue growth of 15.4% while constant currency underlying revenue growth was 19.4%, with Q4’21 growth of 21.7%.
The Board has recommended a final dividend of 2.5 cents per ordinary share. The proposed final dividend will be paid on 23 July 2021 to all ordinary shareholders who are on the register of members at the close of business on 25 June 2021. Airtel paid an interim dividend of 1.5 cents per ordinary share in December 2020.
Airtel Africa’s distribution expansion and enhanced offerings helped drive 18.5% growth in its mobile money customer base. The mobile money business now serves over 21.7 million customers, representing 18.3% of its total customer base.
Mobile money continues to be one of its fastest-growing service segments, delivering revenue growth of 35.5% for the year. It is an increasingly important part of its business, delivering $51bn of annualised (Q4’21) transaction value and accounting for 10.6% of total revenue in Q4’21.
Mobile money ARPU increased by 6.6%over the year, driven by increased transaction values and higher contributions from merchant payments, cash transactions, P2P transfers and mobile services recharges through Airtel Money.
Mobile money revenue grew by 35.5% to $401m driven by 18.5% growth of the customer base and transaction value growth of 53.6%. Customer base growth was largely driven by the expansion of its distribution network, as we continued to invest in exclusive kiosks and mobile money branches.
Throughout the year, the expansion of its mobile money product portfolio, through partnerships with leading financial institutions, and the expansion of its merchant ecosystem further strengthened its mobile money propositions.
The mobile money customer base reached 21.7million, up 18.5% from the prior year, with Airtel Money customers now representing 18.3% of its total customer base, an increase of 1.8 percentage points. Mobile money ARPU increased 6.6%, driven by the increase in transaction values and a higher contribution from merchant payments, cash transactions, P2P transfers and mobile services recharges through Airtel Money.
In Nigeria, the customer base growth was supported by continued expansion of its distribution network and network infrastructure, with a slowdown in customer base growth in the second half of the year attributable to new “Know-Your-Customer” (KYC) requirements in Nigeria. In Q4’21, voice revenue grew by 12.9% in constant currency, mainly driven by voice ARPU growth of 7.5%, largely due to increased voice usage per customer.
Initially, new customer acquisitions were barred until significant progress had been made on linking the active customer base with verified NINs. Natural churn in the customer base led to a loss of 2.5 million active mobile customers in the final quarter of the year, however, the financial impact has been minimal, with continued revenue growth in Nigeria, due largely to the significantly lower ARPU of the churned base and increased usage by the active base.
In April, the NCC announced that it would allow new customer enrolment to recommence from certified outlets. Airtel Nigeria has so far received interim approvals for c800 outlets and new customer registrations have recommenced in those outlets accordingly.