Weekly digest for 21 May 2021


This week’s main story focuses on Airtel Africa’s financial results for the year ended 31 March 2021. Airtel Africa reported growth in both the voice and data segments of 15% and 24% respectively, in constant currency. Data growth was driven by increasing smartphone penetration and higher 4G rollout, with 76% of Airtel’s network now upgraded to 4G. This meant that data usage grew from 1.9GB per customer to 2.7GB per customer per month. EBITDA margin improved from 40% to 46%. Contrast Airtel’s results with TNM Malawi’s revenue decline of 6% and the benefits of an aggressive upgrade to 4G show that there is plenty of money to be made with the right business strategy.

  • Kenya: The Communications Authority has authorized the use of TV white spaces for fixed broadband services in the 470-694MHz range.
  • Ghana: A SIM re-registration process will start in June 2021. The first SIM registration process started in 2019 and a re-registration was meant to start in June 2020. The amount of money wasted in multiple SIM registration processes in Africa is astounding.
  • Vodacom: The Vodacom Group reported its financial results for year ended 31 March 2021. Revenues increased by 8.3% and the number of customers increased to 123.7 million (including Safaricom).
  • South Africa: The Internet Service Providers’ Association has called on government and ICASA to open up telecom licensing. The last time that licenses were issued was in 2010 and no new licenses have subsequently been issued.
  • Ethiopia: The Ethiopian government has announced that new mobile operators would be allowed to offer mobile money services in May 2022. This is a retraction of the policy that only allowed local Ethiopian firms to offer mobile money services.