IN a year Vodacom Lesotho (VCL) is celebrating 20 years of serving Basotho, the telecommunication giant’s revenue exceeded the M1 billion mark for the financial year ending 31 March 2016.
The company, which has 1 399 000 active voice customers and 532 000 data customers, has attributed the performance on the diligent execution of its strategies in an interview with Sunday Express business reporter Bereng Mpaki. Below are excerpts:
How does the management of Vodacom Lesotho feel about this strong performance that had never been attained before?
We are extremely proud of this achievement. The result showcases what can be achieved with hard work and clear execution of our strategy to empower and connect all Basotho. We work hard to ensure that our strategy is well communicated and received throughout the organisation and this milestone is a clear indication of what can happen when everyone on the team is pulling together and believes in the same vision.
What strategies did Vodacom Lesotho employ in achieving this performance?
Our growth was driven through a significant investment in our network and infrastructure that saw us deliver the widest coverage, the best voice quality and top data speeds to our customers. As it stands, we are covering 95 percent of the population. We have rolled out 3G internet to every site where we have 2G and we are drastically increasing our Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage in all districts.
We supplemented that investment by ensuring that our products and services are affordable to our customers, which makes them connecting to their loved ones and to life-changing services that much more possible. Finally, we cannot forget the significant performance of M-Pesa, which is growing significantly in terms of active users, volumes and amounts being transacted. That is added to a robust agent network that is spread across the whole country. We have continued to invest in M-Pesa and have grown the ecosystem of services on M-Pesa to make sure it is truly useful and transformational for our customers.
By how much does this year’s revenue performance differ from the previous year?
Our year-on-year revenue growth has continued to grow steadily and in line with our performance the previous financial year, and what we had expected to see this past year. Diligently executing on our strategy has ensured this consistent and predictable growth
How much of Vodacom Lesotho’s earning enters the Lesotho economy?
A significant portion of our earnings enter and boost Lesotho’s economy. We have created significant employment in Lesotho both through direct employment and indirectly. We have an extensive network of local suppliers, resellers in our distribution channels and commissions for airtime sales and M-Pesa taxes. These are contributing significantly to the local economy and to empowering the livelihoods of Basotho.
Another key area of the business contributing to the local economy that we are very proud of is our Vodacom Lesotho Foundation, which focuses exclusively on finding impactful and innovative ways in which we can invest meaningfully into the development of Lesotho and stimulation of the economy.
Over the past few years, our Foundation investments have delivered a tangible positive impact on Basotho’s livelihoods.
Is there anything that the company plans or has already done to recognise this achievement with its employees, considering the fact that employees are an integral part of the performance of any organization?
Yes there is. Every quarter, we have a company function where all employees of the company get together to celebrate successes and discuss ways to continue performing well. This is in addition to recognising those that have performed outstandingly. It is afun and vibrant event where all levels of the company get to interact and celebrate together. We will be having our next one this month.
Between voice and data revenue, which represents Vodacom Lesotho’s higher revenue stream?
Voice revenue still accounts for the largest contribution to our service revenue, but data is growing at a very fast pace every year with more and more Basotho getting on the internet and getting their hands on affordable smartphones like our SmartKickas. We expect that data will very soon overtake voice as our largest revenue driver.